Heard about water security? International agencies as well as national governments are joining hands to improve water security across different regions in the world. So, that brings us to the question, what is Water Security?
What is Water Security?
Water security is the basic goal of water policy and water management. As per definition, Water security is “the reliable availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water-related risks”. The better the water security of a society, the faster water’s benefits reach humans and ecosystems. This limits the risk of destructive impacts associated with water. Destructive impacts include too much water (flood), too little water (drought and water scarcity) or poor quality (polluted) water. There cannot be set parameters for quantifying Water security. However, we can strive to manage water related risks and capture water related opportunities for the better of the society.
United Nations with policy makers from across the world are working towards different sustainable development Goals. Water Security is an important one among them. An enhanced water security leads to increased economic welfare and enhanced social equity. It also helps in long-term sustainability and reducing water related risks. The absence of water security is termed “water insecurity”. Water insecurity is a growing threat to humanity. Different factors contribute to water insecurity. These include water scarcity, water pollution, reduced water quality due to climate change impacts, poverty, destructive forces of water and others (for example natural disasters, terrorism and armed conflict).
Water Security in India
Water resources are a critical component for economic development. India has only 4 per cent of global water resources for its use but houses 17.7% of world population. This itself is an indicator as to how strained India’s water resources are. The quality of both surface water and groundwater in India is unsatisfactory. Water contamination is on the rise due to unplanned urbanisation and untreated effluents emitted by industries. There is a declining trend in usable water availability due to high population growth and rapid urbanisation. As per NITI Aayog report, by 2030, India’s water demand will be twice the available supply. The agricultural sector is a major user of water along with the industrial and domestic sectors.
Policy makers in India are undertaking various steps to enhance it. These include rainwater harvesting for conserving water and high water use efficiency across all sectors. Steps also include treating wastewater and its recycling and water reuse. Another important step is to increase the capacity of dams in the country as well as increasing the potential of hydropower thereof along with recharging groundwater. The Jal Jeevan Mission programme for tap water connection to rural areas (by 2024) also mandates recycling and reuse of wastewater in rural areas for water sustainability.
Importance of Water Security
Water security is linked to all round growth of a nation. If India wants to achieve a higher level of growth per capita GDP, it is necessary to reduce the water intensity of its economy. It has to make water available for other sectors and thereby avoid water shortages and related water conflicts. Policies should be tailored keeping long-term and sustainable solutions in mind. An integrated water management plan must be brought up by local bodies and implemented at the local level. This approach will ensure better water security in the country. On an individual level, small steps help. These are reducing water wastage, optimal use of available water resources as well as helping to recharge ground water. Doulton Water filters are among the most water economical filters in the market. They save water and electricity, unlike RO filters, which waste huge amounts of water in the name of filtering.