Although not a country-specific report, several other Indian reports have highlighted the severity of the crisis in certain regions. With 1,486 cubic meters of annual per capita availability, India is already water stressed, as an annual per capita water availability of less than 1,700 cubic meters is considered a water stressed condition, while a annual water supply per capita of less than 1,000 cubic meters is treated as water scarcity. situation. In the business as usual scenario, India will become a water-scared nation within the next three decades.
Pointing to global data on the availability of drinking water and some other disturbing facts about the state of fresh water around the world, the annual report, published by UNESCO and UN-Water, warned that Water shortages will worsen in the coming decades, especially in cities, if international cooperation in this area is not strengthened. He also spoke at length about the importance of water management by local communities around the world.
The report also reported that two to three billion people around the world experience water shortages for at least one month a year, posing serious risks to livelihoods, including food security and access to electricity.
“The global urban population facing water scarcity is expected to double from 930 million in 2016 to 1.7 to 2.4 billion people in 2050. The increasing incidence of extreme and prolonged droughts is also straining the ecosystems, with disastrous consequences for plant and animal species”, It said.
Emphasizing that almost all water-related interventions involve some form of cooperation, the report notes that providing clean and affordable water to cities and rural areas is only possible through the management of water supply systems. community water and sanitation.
This aspect is also experienced in India, which is a country essentially dependent on groundwater.
“Groundwater being a decentralized resource, requires decentralized management and governance. It should be better managed by the local community both for rainwater harvesting to improve groundwater recharge and then decide the community as a whole on crops, efficiency measures in water use water, ensure its equitable distribution and prioritize its use according to the amount of groundwater available,” said India. former water secretary Shashi Shekhar.
He emphasized on empowering the community with scientific knowledge by advising them of suitable locations for rainwater harvesting measurements, seamless transfer of information by installing piezometers in observation wells at every 1×1 km2 on the availability of water after the monsoon, etc. so that they can make informed decisions. “Such efforts will go a long way toward sustainability of water use and water security,” Shekhar told TOI.
On the question of international cooperation to solve water problems, the UN report notes with concern that the management
rivers and aquifers crossing international borders makes matters all the more complex. “While cooperation on transboundary basins and aquifers has been shown to provide many benefits beyond water security, including the opening of additional diplomatic channels, only 6 of the 468 shared aquifers at the international are subject to a formal cooperation agreement,” he said.
“There is an urgent need to establish strong international mechanisms to prevent the global water crisis from spiraling out of control. Water is our common future and it is essential to act together to share it equitably and manage it sustainably,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.