India is facing a growing drinking water crisis, with experts predicting that at least 40 per cent of people in the country will run out of reliable drinking water supplies by 2030, following the worst water crisis in its history in 2018.
In order to tackle the issue head on, both government interventions and local community efforts will be required in order to shore up water security – and one community project is already underway and, seemingly, enjoying some success in this regard.
Pond restoration efforts are now being carried out by CatcH2o in Goa, with local residents working together to revive an almost-dry pond in Saligao by extricating rubbish and invasive species, replanting native plants and restoring the natural water flow, the World Economic Forum & Reuters reports.
This project and similar ones in Goa took place at the same time as the implementation of a new plan by the wetland authority, designed to encourage locals to protect their own ecosystems, with funding available to carry out projects and join up the work of various government agencies.
Other work being done to protect water resources includes the construction of rainwater harvesting structures in the southern Tamil Nadu state, including recharge wells to trap rainwater runoff and check dams, which slow down the water flow on streams and rivers.
In cities, residents have also come together to clean lakes, increase water storage capacity and improve rainwater harvesting efforts – but tens of thousands of people are still reliant on water deliveries by tanker trunks, paying for clean water by the litre.
But Goa is still facing issues with providing drinking water, with chief minister Pramod Sawant saying last month (February) that the state now faces a shortage of 76 million litres of water a day.
From a global perspective, the water crisis is becoming increasingly critical as time goes on, with figures from the UN showing that more than three billion people around the world are now affected by water shortages, driven by poor water management, climate breakdown and an increase in demand for supplies.
The analysis found that the amount of freshwater now available for each person has dropped by a fifth over a 20-year period. As a result of failures to preserve this precious resource and address the climate crisis effectively, billions of people will now be faced with hunger and widespread chronic food shortages.