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Significance of Jal Shakti Abhiyan

The Prime Minister has emphasized a lot on ‘Water Conservation’, which is available in limited quantity on the planet.

What is the status of water availability in India?

1. India receives approximately 4000 billion cubic metres of rainfall every year.

2. Out of this, 1869 billion cubic metres are left after evaporation.

3. The actual availability after a part of it goes to sea during floods is 1123 billion cubic metres out of which 690 billion cubic metres is from surface water sources like rivers and lakes and 433 billion cubic metres is from groundwater sources.

4. There is plenty of water only in three basins of Brahmaputra, Indus, and Ganga and to some extent, the west flowing Western Ghats rivers.

5. Brahmaputra region has less population due to which less people have more water.

6. In the regions having basins of Narmada, Tapi, Krishna and Godavari, the population density is high due to which availability of water per person is relatively low.

7. Therefore, there is a lot of temporal and spatial variation in the availability of this water.

Which steps should be taken to improve its availability for future generations?

1. Water crisis is not something for the future as the problem has manifested in a bigger way this year. For instance, IT companies in Chennai asked their employees to work from home, as they did not have water to sustain operations.

2. Judicial use of water, but the quality of water also needs to be maintained.

3. Both traditional (like construction and maintenance of ponds) and modern techniques can be used for water conservation simultaneously.

4. As the agricultural sector is the biggest consumer of water, practises like drip and sprinkler irrigation methods, mulching, etc. should be used more for conserving water.

5. Both the Government as well as the citizens are responsible for water conservation.

6. At the same time, the amount of water consumption should be reduced so that the groundwater level is not reduced further.

7. Proper discipline for water consumption must be maintained to conserve it. For example- In Israel, even after the availability of water is not much, people have made wise use of water and that has improved the situation there.

Why is linkage of rivers a debatable question?

1. Interlinking of rivers is a long-term project with huge capital requirements and implications.

2. For instance, it has been almost 20 years since the approval of Ken-Betwa project but there has been little progress due to opposition and ecological concerns about the project.

3. Similarly, there is a multitude of issues surrounding the interlinking project.

How is Jal Shakti Abhiyan significant?

1. Jal Shakti Ministry has been newly incorporated by merging the departments of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to address water issues holistically.

2. It also has promised that it would ensure sustainable, potable, piped drinking water to every home by 2024.

3. Various measures for water conservation under Jal Shakti Abhiyan include

a. Rainwater harvesting

b. Groundwater recharge

c. Watershed development

d. Renovation of traditional and other water bodies

e. Recycle and Reuse

f. Bore well recharge structures and

g. Intensive afforestation.

4. Water conservation efforts will also be supplemented with

a. Development of Block and District Water Conservation Plans.

b. Promotion of efficient water use for irrigation and better choice of crops through Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

c. Participation of different groups including students, swachhagrahis, Self Help Groups, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Youth groups (NSS/NYKS/NCC), Defence personnel, pensioners etc.

d. Awareness for proper and efficient use of water among people to conserve it for future generations.