India receives total annual rainfall of about 4,000 billion cubic metres (BCM). After loss through evaporation etc., the total water availability is about 1,869 BCM. When you further discount topographical characteristics and hydrological constraints, the quantity of usable water is 1,123 BCM. The total availability is limited and is decreasing in direct proportion to the increase in population. According to UN data, From 5,177 cubic metres in 1951, when India’s population was 361 million, it is likely to fall to 1,140 cubic metres in 2050, when the population is projected to be 1,640 million. There is a water scarcity crisis that looms over us as we scrutinize the specifics and figures.
Out of 100 percent of usable water 80% is allocated for agricultural purpose remaining 12% and 8% proportionately shared between industrial and regular households consumption. The 20% water clearly does not look sufficient to meet the requirements of the industry and households. However, a closer look at the ground situation explains that the issue is not of scarcity but poor management and distribution of water. In the housing segment, a large portion of water is wasted because of sheer leakage in the existing water pipeline and only 70% of the total supply reaches household. The scarcity is further supplemented by low density of metering in the country leading to further limitation of funds required for basic infrastructure.
Similarly, on the industry front, it has been observed that the sector is drawing potable / ground water from rivers and other water bodies leading to further depletion of ground water levels. Providing safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygienic conditions are essential for human survival, health and dignity. Adequate and reliable water supplies and sanitation services are critical for coping with everyday urban life. Lack of access to adequate safe drinking water and sanitation causes severe health problems. Water-borne diseases – such as dysentery, cholera and typhoid, caused by contaminated water; water-washed diseases such as skin and eye infections caused by insufficient water for personal hygiene and water-based or other water-related diseases such as malaria, bilharzias, elephantiasis and river blindness, related to exposure to unsafe water situations. Technology alone is not able to counter the water scarcity and contamination issue due to lack of skewed demography, knowledge and implementation. It is now time to adopt the global best practices and deploy the latest technology to make the dream of 24×7 water supplies a reality.
Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd (VIL India) , a pioneer in Water management and recycling made it a reality in Nagpur though India’s first pilot project making it possible for the residents of the city to avail 24×7 water supply. There are few pockets in India where the aspect of 24×7 running water facility management is implemented under the PPP model and is running successfully. The most heralded project under the 24×7 running water management in India has been at Nagpur city in Maharashtra.