As I sit to write this article, I am sure whichever part of India you might be in, water crisis is a reality for you. Be it in the form of water rationing, sky high product prices resulting from drought condition or innumerable reports of hapless farmers resorting to the extreme measure of committing suicide unable to cope with the shortage of water and the resultant impact, water woes have taken up monstrous proportion.
According to a recent study by the World Bank on the perils of water crisis the world over, India is among the dozen countries, predominantly across Asia and Africa, who would be drastically affected by the water crisis. The World Bank study indicates that the GDP of India could see a potential 6% reduction as a result of this water scarcity.
On the contrary, effective water management across India can result in 1% addition to the GDP or the Gross Domestic Product. With the crisis beginning to affect a much larger part of the people every minute, proper management of this natural resource is taking on emergency stature.
This study also goes on to highlight the inequalities of water crisis faced worldwide. While North America and Western Europe, the conglomerate of nations which historically played a larger role in climate change will face negligible effect of the water crisis. However Asia and Africa would be worst affected if the mis-management of water resources continue. Not just that water crisis also leads to a significant loss of economic activity for the country. Case in point is that fact that all units at Parli Thermal Power Station (1130 MW) in Maharashtra’s Beed district is seeing outage due to the water shortage in the state since last June. This of course is merely the tip of the iceberg and the story delves deeper in terms of loss of business, livelihood and poverty levels.
Not just that, as per the International Food Policy Research Institute’s estimates, about 45% of the world’s GDP is under the threat of reducing water resources. Just last month UNESCO revealed that about 2.6 billion jobs worldwide depend directly on water and half of them very heavily dependent.
So while the Power Minister Piyush Goyel’s assurance in the Parliament about sufficient power despite water woes provides temporary relief, the time for some serious long standing steps to reset our water management programmes is of utmost necessity.