Cover Story: Aspirations Over Water – Liquid Ambitions

Due to changing weather patterns and frequent droughts, groundwater has reached “critical” or “overexploited” levels in 250 out of 700 districts in India. However, the goal of the Jal Jeevan Mission is to provide tap water to every household. Bureaucrat Bharat Lal and water curator Rajendra Singh discussed India’s water crisis and ways to improve access to water.

Bharat Lal, Additional Secretary (Water), Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti

about future plans

“Our aim is for villages and children to know about water, sanitation and health over time … Pani Samitis, NGOs, civil society are participating in raising awareness … Each state is forming committees 15-member water bodies in all districts of the state … People are being taught how to bring flood water to reservoirs and other water management techniques.

Rajendra singh
Water conservationist and environmentalist, known as ‘Jal Purush’ from India

On the effects of climate change

“28 percent of India’s total water reserves are still protected, but much of this water is being discharged, which means more water is being drawn from reservoirs than can be filled.

They are also becoming emptier due to climate change … Due to climate change, rain patterns are changing and farmers are not aware of these rain patterns … It is important to link the cropping pattern with the rain pattern .

“There has to be a balance between emptying and filling the reservoirs and this is possible only when their management is in the hands of the communities and the water is extracted from them on the basis of a balanced demand.”

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