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22nd March 2024 (10 Topics)

Water, an instrument to build world peace


World Water Day, observed annually on March 22 since 1993, aims to raise awareness about freshwater issues. The theme for this year, "Water for Peace," underscores the significance of water in maintaining peace and stability globally.

Challenges of Water Crisis:

  • Multifaceted Challenges: Factors such as rapid urbanization, industrialization, unsustainable agricultural practices, and climate change contribute to the global water crisis.
  • Impact on Peace and Stability: Seventeen countries face 'extremely high' water stress, threatening peace and stability, according to the World Resources Institute.
  • India's Water Scarcity: India faces water scarcity issues, with projections indicating a further decline in availability by 2025 and 2050.

Impacts on Ecosystems and Agriculture:

  • Ecosystem Disruption: Water scarcity disrupts ecosystem functions, jeopardizing food and water security and ultimately undermining peace.
  • Threat to Agricultural Sustainability: Groundwater depletion, exemplified by cases like Bengaluru and Punjab, poses a severe threat to agricultural sustainability.
  • Vulnerability of Rainfed Regions: Rainfed regions in India, crucial for agricultural output, are vulnerable to water scarcity, impacting food production.

Water Crisis and its Implications:

  • India's Water Crisis: Rapid urbanization, industrialization, unsustainable agricultural practices, and climate change have contributed to India's water scarcity issues. According to the World Resources Institute, India is categorized as water-stressed, with projections indicating further reduction in water availability by 2025 and 2050.
  • Groundwater Depletion: Groundwater depletion is a severe concern in many Indian states, leading to negative consequences such as reduced agricultural productivity, ecosystem degradation, and social tensions. Instances like the depletion of the groundwater table in Bengaluru and other major cities highlight the urgent need for action.
  • Impact on Peace: Water scarcity poses a threat to peace and stability, as seen in the case of 17 countries facing 'extremely high' water stress levels. Competition over limited water resources could exacerbate tensions, leading to conflicts and unrest.

Promoting Water Security and Peace:

  • Role of Rainwater Harvesting: Implementing rainwater harvesting techniques, both in-situ and ex-situ, is crucial for augmenting water resources and enhancing resilience against drought and water scarcity. This approach aligns with initiatives like "per drop more crop" and "Gaon ka pani gaon mein" under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
  • Government Initiatives: The government's emphasis on water conservation and management through programs like Mission Amrit Sarovar and Jal Shakti Abhiyan is commendable. However, there's a need for a comprehensive protocol for the revival of water bodies and ponds to address the underlying issues effectively.
  • Additional Interventions: Implementing measures such as groundwater monitoring, water quality reclamation, efficient irrigation techniques, community awareness campaigns, and promoting water-neutral practices are essential for ensuring long-term water security and fostering peace.
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