‘Time to take proactive steps to counter drought’

Neha Basudkar
Friday, 22 March 2019

Colonel (Retd) Shashikant Dalvi, added, “According to recent studies, around 1 billion Indians will face water crisis in coming years and the recent example is that the State is facing a drought. 

Pune: On the occasion of World Water Day celebrated on March 22, city-based experts feel that to make the day count, the government and citizens should take proactive steps to ensure that the current drought-like situation improves in the coming years, by effective implementation of water conservation methods and proper utilisation by providing safe drinking water to all.

Based on this year’s theme ‘Leaving no one behind’, Colonel (Retd) Shashikant Dalvi, District Manager (Pune) - The Climate Reality Project, India, told Sakal Times that the focus should be on providing water without contamination. 

Colonel (Retd) Shashikant Dalvi, added, “According to recent studies, around 1 billion Indians will face water crisis in coming years and the recent example is that the State is facing a drought. 

Groundwater levels in Beed district have dropped down to seven metres and likewise other districts are facing the same situation. Now with the revival of El Nino phenomenon, it is predicted that monsoon 2019 may have deficit rainfall for India, and people are depending on groundwater because there is no water in rivers along with prevailing drought conditions.”

Suneel Joshi, President of Samagraha Nadi Pariwar, said, “We are utilising 93 per cent of groundwater and not even 50 per cent of it is being deposited back. Instead, people are fighting over groundwater.

The two government agencies including Central Groundwater department and Ground Water Development Agency have never taken the leadership to act on the crisis. Their job till now was to only submit reports to collectors and ministers, but they are now working on the crisis. And as a part of the NGO, we are focusing on how to engage the young generation on increasing the groundwater table.” 

According to Dr Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director, ACWADAM, nearly one billion Indians use groundwater every single day in some way or the other. Given India’s high groundwater dependency and the combined crisis of depletion and contamination, he emphasised the need to highlight the severe water stress. The drought in Maharashtra this year bears this out. 

He said the time to ‘celebrate’ a Water Day is over and there is need to change human behaviour on water every single day. Concrete decisions and actions at the level of society at large are necessary in the form of conserving water, using it judiciously and making efforts to restore water as a resource should form the pledge for March 22. 

The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’, which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. 

Pan-India level
Dr Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director, ACWADAM, stated that, at pan-India level:
One million Indians used groundwater every day. 
48 per cent of rural drinking water supply comes from groundwater. 
55 per cent of industries use groundwater one way or the other.

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