UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | India’s Growing Water Crisis; The Seen And The Unseen | 15th September, 2022

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What the article is about:

  • The article talks about growing water stress in India and ways to deal with it.


  • GS2:Issues arising out of design and implementation of policies, Mobilisation of resources.


  • The UNESCO united nations world water development report of 2022 has raised concern over sharp rise in freshwater withdrawal from streams, lakes, aquifers and human made reservoirs.

Extent of water stress in India:

  • The new water report of the Food and Agriculture organisation of the united nation (FAO) sounded a note of caution about this silent crisis of global dimension.
  • The water scarcity clock, shows that over 2 billion people live in countries now experiencing high water stress.
  • The Global Draught Risk and Water Stress map (2019) shows that major part of India, particularly west,central and parts of peninsular India are highly water stressed and experience water scarcity.
  • A NITI aayog report, “composite water management index (2018) has sounded a note the worst water crisis in the country, with more than 600 million people facing acute water shortages.
  • A review paper published in 2019 reported that, at least 12% of large cities in the world rely on inter-basin transfers.


  • Rural-urban transfer of water is an issue of global concern.
  • A UN report on, “Transboundary water systems- status and trend (2016) linked this issue of water transfers with various sustainable development goals, The report identified risks associated with water transfer in three categories of Biophysical, Socio economic and governance.
  • The urban population will cross the 40% mark by 2030, with the further growth if cities, water sources allocation will be enhanced at the expense of irrigation water.
  • The Rural- urban water transfer has the potential to ignite the rural urban disputes.

Way ahead:

  • It is important to strive for a win-win situation, such a situation is possible through a host of activities in the rural and urban areas, which is primarily a governance challenge.
  • A system perspective and catchment scale based approach are necessary to link reallocation of water with wider discussions on development, fostering an rural urban partnership and adopting an integrated approach in water management.


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