|Strategic Foresight Group has brought out a publication titled “The Himalayan Challenge: Water Security in Emerging Asia, 2010”. As per the Executive Summary of the publication, in the next 20 years, the four countries in the Himalayan sub-region, namely India, Nepal, China and Bangladesh, will face depletion of almost 275 billion cubic meters (BCM) of annual renewable water.|
Several steps for augmentation, conservation and efficient management in order to ensure sustainability of water resources are taken up by the respective State Governments which include creation of storages, restoration of water bodies, rainwater harvesting, artificial recharge to ground water, integrated watershed development, adoption of better irrigation practices, etc. The Central Government supplements the efforts of the State Government through technical and financial assistance.
The Government of India has launched the National Water Mission with the objective of conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management. One of the goals of National Water Mission is ‘increasing water use efficiency by 20%’ to avoid wastage of water.
Some reduction in flow has been observed in downstream of storages on various rivers wherever water is being diverted for drinking and irrigation purposes. However, as per the data analysed by Central Water Commission (CWC), the observed data of average water availability in major rivers before 1985 and after 1985, no trend could be established regarding reduction in average water availability in the river basin.
The National Water Mission Document and the ‘Preliminary Consolidated Report on Effect of Climate Change on Water Resources’ (June, 2008) prepared jointly by CWC, New Delhi and National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, indicate the likely impacts of climate change on water resources in India are as follows:-
• Impact on the glaciers and the snowfields in the Himalayas;
• Increased frequency of drought and flood, i.e. extreme events;
• Increased water stress and Impact on water quality;
• Influence on groundwater recharge due to changes in precipitation and evapo-transpiration; and
• Increased saline intrusion of coastal and island aquifers due to rising sea levels.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Shri Vincent H. Pala in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.