There is a water emergency now: Rajendra Singh

11 states are facing a water emergency. It is a crisis

sreelatha

Sreelatha Menon | May 17, 2016


#Jal Satyagraha   #MIT   #Rajendra Singh   #Water Scarcity   #Agriculture   #Maharashtra   #Marathwada   #Agriculture   #Drought   #Bundelkhand  

(Photo: Swati Chandra)


Are you aware of the MIT study which projects acute water stress in India 35 years from now?

Why wait for 35 years? Even now 11 states are facing a water emergency. It is a crisis. And we should consider ourselves lucky if we survive till 2050. It is a terrifying situation.

Where is it more severe?

Almost entire southern India is affected. It is severe in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. In Andhra Pradesh, Rayalseema region is affected and it is most severe in Anantpur. As for Telangana, every district is reeling under drought. Even in rain-fed Kerala most districts are short of water, and Palakkad is most severely hit.

What are the reasons behind this crisis?

All aquifers are overdrawn and there is no recharge. That is the simple reason. Police keep reserve force for safety, but for water we have no reserve bank. Earlier our aquifers were full. People used to get water from a shallow depth, but today the ground water levels are going lower and lower.

How can this be rectified at this stage?

See, we are getting water even now from underground. But this water is 10,000 to 60,000 years old. It is fossil water. Unless this water is recharged with fresh inflow, what will we be left with?

What is your plan of action?

I have with me experts and geologists who have worked on creating a draft bill which would pull us back from the verge of a water disaster. But for that the government should pay heed. We have the support of Ekta Parishad and Anna Hazare too.

READ:
Parched throats demand water law to quench thirst

READ: Scary scarcity of water
(The interview appears in the May 16-31, 2016 issue)

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