Pic Source: https://www.circleofblue.org/2019/india/groundwater-plummets-in-delhi-city-of-29-million/
To Start the Discussion
The nation that pumps the most groundwater has come to terms with its food and water security, which threatens to undermine political and economic stability as well as long-term public health.
Circle of Blue uncovers how a nation of 1.3 billion people is inviting disease, economic suffering, and social instability by neglecting to safeguard its water in this special report, which builds on years of on-the-ground reporting. This post is included with the assumption on India’s Water Scarcity Expected to Get More Severe By 2050. Have a look on the discussion for detailed information.
A food supply “toxic time bomb” with global repercussions goes hand in hand with the depletion and poisoning of groundwater. Farmers use untreated wastewater that is mixed with sewage and industrial chemicals when irrigation wells run dry.
The water changed from sustaining life to claiming it, as one villager put it.
A Wide Range of Issues
Delhi is making an effort to meet the demands of tens of millions of people by building new infrastructure on top of water systems that were created centuries ago, like other worldwide megacities, some of which are the size of small nations.
Historically, the city relied on a network of check dams, step wells, and natural drains for its water supply. In this arrangement, rainwater was collected during the monsoon season and used all year round.
Its historic network was neglected as a result of the metro area’s recent decades of rapid growth, which has seen its population surpass 29 million, according to the UN. The majority of the city’s natural drainage systems have been covered over or blocked by rubbish. Either lakes or other bodies of water have dried up, or they are now clogged with trash and other pollution.
According to Upmanu Lall, a professor at Columbia University and the head of the Columbia Water Center, “Sewers, where they exist, release untreated or inadequately treated water,” he told Circle of Blue.
According to Lall, seasonal floods also disperses toxins throughout the city’s water supply. “There are many places that flood when there are no sewage systems, mobilizing everything on the ground.”
Delhi’s surface water is in poor condition as well. The Yamuna River, a tributary of the Ganges, is used by locals for drinking, bathing, and washing. However, the river is a poisonous brew of industrial chemicals, agricultural runoff, and sewage. According to a recent study, 1,500 unlicensed slums’ worth of sewage and feces are dumped right into the Yamuna.
The government-owned Delhi Jal Board is in charge of managing the city’s water distribution system. Eighty-one percent of Delhi households have some access to piped water, though the supply—which comes from the Yamuna River and the ground—isn’t always dependable or clean. The water that enters the pipes frequently leaks out. Water loss in the city might reach 40% as a result of theft and leakage.
Approximately 625,000 households do not have any connection to the city pipelines, according to the 2011 Census. These homes are mostly found in slums or unofficial settlements.
Closing the Discourse
Borewells or tanker trucks are used by millions of residents who are not adequately supplied by the city’s water distribution system or are excluded from it. Illegal borewells are commonplace across the city, with some of them extending more than 120 meters. According to a report from March 2018, 15 of Delhi’s 27 administrative divisions “overexploit” groundwater.
There are additional variables at play in Delhi’s impending groundwater issue besides illegal groundwater extraction. According to Lall, the Delhi metropolitan region includes its own capital territory and is bordered by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, both of which regularly pump considerable amounts of groundwater for domestic use. The region’s water users as a whole are taking groundwater more quickly than it is naturally replenishing.