Water Scarcity and Water Conservation - I

There’s so much water around us.

A lake in a nearby park.

Tonnes of water in water resorts!

And when it rains, lots and lots of water on the streets.

If you are lucky enough, your home may be receiving a regular supply of tap water from the municipality every day.

But the truth is that in many parts of the world, including India, there is a severe shortage of water.

Severe shortage of water is called water scarcity. Let's understand it in detail.

Water Scarcity

Water scarcity occurs when the water resources in a region are not enough to meet the daily needs of people.

Water scarcity can be in terms of quantity and quality.

Water Scarcity in terms of Quantity

Water scarcity can occur when there is very low quantity of water available than required for daily needs.

This happens because the availability of water resources varies with place, season, and usage.

For instance, Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat have minimal rainfall. So, these areas have very little water available.

Also, water availability is low in summers because of high temperatures and lack of rainfall.

Water shortage can happen even in areas where there is sufficient amount of water available.

For instance, most cities in India receive good amount of rain and have enough groundwater, but still face water shortage.

One cause is overpopulation. We need more and more water to fulfill the needs of the growing population.

Water is not just required for drinking or for domestic uses like washing and cleaning, but also for irrigating food crops.

A large population needs a lot of food, and to produce more food, farmers need to increase food-grain production.

To irrigate food crops, a large quantity of water is needed.

In fact, the largest portion of our water supply goes into irrigating crops.

One way of reducing water consumption in farming is to develop drought resistant crops and dry farming techniques.

Another example of overuse of water resources is the use of wells.

Most houses and farms have their own wells (tubewells or borewells) through which they consume groundwater.

When there is overuse of groundwater, the levels of groundwater fall and wells dry up.

This leads to water scarcity and also makes it difficult for farmers to irrigate their crops.

Industrialisation and urbanisation is another cause of water shortage.

Existing freshwater resources are being exploited by industries, especially those that are heavily dependent on water.

For instance, sugar mills, carbonated beverage, breweries, and pulp and paper mills need large amounts of water.

As more and more of such industries come up, there is overuse of water resources, eventually resulting in shortage of water in the region.

Revision

Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient water resources to meet daily needs.

Water scarcity in terms of quantity varies with place and season, and also depends on usage.

The End