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Water scarcity by 2030 – Time to act

The data analysis of satellite data from NASA underlines that half of the earth’s 37 largest aquifers are running too fast to be replenished and an additional 13 are declining at a faster rate.

Water scarcity by 2030 – Time to act!

Water scarcity already affecting every continent in the world.

Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainable delivered, especially in arid regions.

India is in the worst water crisis in its history, and the various records have shown that 21 Indian cities will run out of groundwater by 2020, a new report from the NITI Aayog–a government think tank– said,

With nearly 600 million Indians facing high-to-extreme stress–where more than 40% of the annually available surface water is used every year–and about 200,000 people dying every year due to inadequate access to safe water, the situation is likely to worsen as the demand for water will exceed the supply by 2050, said the ‘Composite Water Management Index’(CWMI) report , released on June 14, 2018.

As we said, 21 Indian cities–including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad–will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people; 40% of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030, the report said.

Currently, many Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu, face water shortages, exacerbated by changing rainfall patterns, IndiaSpend reported on June 6, 2018.


Water Management Scores, By State
State Score (In %) Performance
Gujarat 76 High
Madhya Pradesh 69 High
Andhra Pradesh 68 High
Karnataka 56 Medium
Maharashtra 55 Medium
Punjab 53 Medium
Tamil Nadu 51 Medium
Telangana 50 Medium
Chhattisgarh 49 Low
Rajasthan 48 Low
Goa 44 Low
Kerala 42 Low
Odisha 42 Low
Bihar 38 Low
Uttar Pradesh 38 Low
Haryana 38 Low
Jharkhand 35 Low
Tripura 59 Medium
Himachal Pradesh 53 Medium
Sikkim 49 Low
Assam 31 Low
Nagaland 28 Low
Uttarakhand 26 Low
Meghalaya 26 Low

Source: Composite Water Management Index, NITI Aayog

The data analysis of satellite data from NASA underlines that half of the earth’s 37 largest aquifers are running too fast to be replenished and an additional 13 are declining at a faster rate.

It is indeed a matter of serious concern, considering the fact that India draws about a third of world’s water from aquifers.

Tamil Nadu alone has a total of about 41,127 tanks, most of which are in bad shape today because of poor maintenance.

Climate experts have predicted that there will be fewer rainy days in the future but in those days it would rain more.

Therefore, it is essential to renovate and restore the capacity of small water bodies to have decentralized water distribution system.

Groundwater management, sustainable water use key

The rate of groundwater extraction is so severe that NASA’s findings suggest that India’s water table is declining alarmingly at a rate of about 0.3 meters per year.

At this rate of depletion, India will have only 22 per cent of the present daily per capita water available in 2050, possibly forcing the country to import water.(source)


The corrective measures that we need to take are not only in the areas of storage but also inefficiency in managing supply, demand, and use.

The proposed water conservation fee on groundwater extraction is definitely a right step in the direction of regulating water use.

If these practices are not adopted, not only will water interventions fail to reach those most in need, but we will also fail in realizing the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda of providing water for all by 2030.

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