Water, with no doubt, is one of the most precious gifts to mankind. It is the most essential component of life and vital for their sustenance. However, today, sorrowfully, India is passing through a very tough situation in this regard. About half of India is facing even drinking water crisis with Chennai and Bengaluru and some other cities.
According to the NITI Aayog‘s Composite Water Management Index (CWMI), Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, and Hyderabad are among the most susceptible cities as they are racing to reach zero groundwater levels by 2020, affecting access for 100 million people. With nearly 50 per cent of India grappling with drought-like conditions, the situation has been particularly grim this year in western and southern states that received below average rainfall.
If the water crisis intensifies in the same way, there would be some serious consequences in India. As the major cities are hurtling headfirst toward the crisis, they can reach Day Zero level when the taps run dry (Day Zero refers to the day when a place is likely to have no drinking water of its own) as the NITI Aayog report released last year predicts Day Zero for 21 Indian cities by next year.
Chennai could well be the first Indian city to go completely dry as a bone. Even if the entire country does not reach Day Zero, it’s crystal clear that the quality of life will likely worsen drastically for millions of people across the country.
There is no doubt that when people don’t find clean drinking water, they will have no option but to rely on unsafe water. As a result, there can be a rapid growth of disease and illness leading to more deaths and higher infant mortality.
The incidents of dropout rates of young girls in schools will rise in mass number as they are traditionally tasked with fetching water so they will need to help their families, and walk much longer distances to rare water access points.
Also, there is a strong possibility of migration in large-extent to the already overpopulated and under-resourced cities.
The wealth divide may also deepen further as more people compete for fewer resources, and food and water prices go up.
One of the most dangerous aspects of the water crisis is that civil rights, human values, democracy, and the rule of law will become extinct and some serious consequences can prevail such as anarchy, chaos, disorder and eventually there can be an emergence of a violent society. As the UN human rights report predicted giving a clear warning, “that human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.”
These are some miserable effects of water crisis that are enough to devastate the nation. So, the states governments, as well as centre, must put some measures in place to prevent this upcoming calamity. It is time to step up not to wait for any disaster to take place in the future in terms of water challenges because we are already reached there.
By Faheem Usmani Qasmi
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)