With the governments across the world battling against multiple consequences of water scarcity, Indian PM Narendra Modi on the 22nd of March launched the ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign under the governments’ flagship program, Jal Shakti Abhiyan. He emphasized the importance of using every penny spent under MGNREGA to conserve water.
The future of water resources in India
As per the Central Water Commission’s reassessment of water availability, India receives a mean annual of about 3,880 billion cubic meters and utilizes only 699 BCM losing the rest to evaporation. It is reported most likely by 2025 843 BCM water requirement and 1,1880 BCM by 2050 will be needed. Further, as per the Niti Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (2019), 75 percent of households in India do not have access to drinking water on their premises and India ranks 120th amongst 122 countries in the water quality index.
Creating water potential and transforming the lives of farming
Jain Irrigation has set up drip irrigation pilots for paddy in Haryana and Tamil Nadu and sugarcane in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Farmers of Maharashtra’s Sonushi village (Nashik) benefited immensely from a HUF initiative. The HUF – MITTRA team promoted a unique irrigation solution in the village and set up a diversion-based irrigation system – a simple, low-cost method that helped the farmers get access to water all throughout the year. The benefit-cost ratio of drip with fertigation in the case of sugarcane in Karnataka is observed to be 2.64. The “Family Drip System” innovated by the largest drip irrigation company in the world, the Israel-based — Netafim has launched its largest demonstration project in Asia at Ramthal, Karnataka.
TPT Policy Advocacy & Recommendations
- Recent years have seen a fast-changing regulatory landscape with increasingly strict regulations on industrial water consumption. NTPC in 2018 had taken the responsibility to tackle the issue of water availability by reducing water consumption and setting new industry benchmarks and explaining alternate methods to ensure long-term water security. However, no significant change in the water consumption and storage is observed.
- Indian farmers’ agricultural methodologies date back ages, there has been no upliftment in their knowledge. The government should postulate laws and policies to educate and familiarize them with new technologies rather than planning programs on paper and expecting nationwide watery security algorithms.