NITI Aayog stated that about 70 per cent of the water in the country is contaminated and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
The report said India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. “At present, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water,” it said, adding that the crisis is only going to get worse.
According to the report, 52% of India’s agricultural area remains dependent on rainfall so the future expansion of irrigation needs to be focused on last mile efficiency.
The report has predicted that by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are behind Gujarat on the index, among states that have performed relatively well.
The think tank ranked all states across nine broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of ground water, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance, NITI CEO Amitabh Kant said.
About 60% of the States were marked as “low performers” and this was cause for “alarm,” according to the report. Many of the States that performed badly on the index — Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh — accounted for 20-30% of India’s agricultural output.
Meanwhile, Gujarat has topped the Niti Aayog’s composite water management index (CWMI), while tribal state Jharkhand was adjudged as the worst performer.
Gujarat is followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra on the index.
In the northeastern and Himalayan states, Tripura has been adjudged as the top state in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam.
According to an official statement, composite water management index (CWMI) is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of states/ Union Territories in efficient management of water resources.
It also said the index will provide useful information for the states and also for the concerned central ministries /departments, enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
The report was released by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who holds the portfolio of water resources, in the presence of the vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar.
Save Water, Save Lives
Clean, fresh water is a limited resource and is probably the most important substance for preserving life. We should save water to avoid drought in the coming future.