In India last June the long-awaited monsoon rains alleviated many water troubles for citizens and authorities. According to QUARTZ India, for the last two years Asia’s third largest economy has seen below-normal rainfall, resulting in the worst drought in over six decades. This year, however, India is expected to receive above-average rainfall.
Whether or not India receives more rain than usual, its citizens still face horrendous water issues. Factors such as the country’s irrigation system and its depleting groundwater levels need to be fixed and replenished. Approximately 266 districts in 11 states have been declared drought-hit and over 300 million Indians are affected, particularly farmers.
Around 119 million Indian farmers depend on the monsoon, which accounts for 70% of the country’s annual precipitation. These farmers mainly use groundwater for irrigation. But, with below-normal rainfall for the past two years, the water table has fallen across the country. Water is so important that these farmers are not only losing livelihood, but lives!
India’s main source of groundwater has sprung from the wells, which have been dropping in water levels. “With the depletion of the water table, the government needs to deploy regulations to control the use of groundwater, such as restricting the depth of irrigation wells,” a report said. The study also showed that steps must be taken throughout India to make irrigation more efficient and improve groundwater management for villages and cities.
More efficient water laws are in the works for states to adopt that promote better use and management of groundwater. Drip irrigation and sprinkler systems are encouraged vs. surface irrigation, which wastes water. Read more about how India plans to combat their water challenges: from QUARTZ India.