Water shortage is going to be severe as there will be 40 percent depletion of fresh water resources on Earth by 2030 unless urgent corrective measures are undertaken, warns the UN World Water Development Report 2015.
The report said India’s record of 19 million tube wells as of 2000 compared to less than a million in 1960 may have paved the way for alleviation of poverty in the country with the development of irrigation agricultural production but there is concurrent pressure on water bodies as well. Maharashtra and Rajasthan have witnessed significant water stress, said the report titled “Water for a Sustainable World”.
From now to 2050, agriculture has to produce 60% more food globally to meet the growing population’s demand with industrialization and energy generation putting maximum pressure on Earth’s water resources, which are fast drying up. The industy’s increase in demand for water from 2000 to 20150 is measured at 400%, said the report.
The report, released in New Delhi by Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sanwar Lal Jat on Friday, recommended waste water treatment on a warfooting to meet the gap. “The national water policy adopts an integrated approach to water management which is vital for poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development,” said the minister.
Michel Jarraud, who heads the UN-Water Development initiative and also Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) concurred on the fact issues pertaining to fresh water are linked to several cultural traits and cannot be seen in isolation. He made an appeal to use water judiciously. “We need to work together (to save water) as stakes are very high and we cannot sit back,” he reminded all people.
Water and sanitation are key to sustainable development goals, as they are inextricably linked to climate change, agriculture, food security, health, energy, equality, gender and education, he said. “Now, we must look forward to measurability, monitoring and implementation”, Jarraud said.
Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO, said water touches our lives in more ways than any other, and hence it must be saved for overall interest of humanity.