Water security has been an important issue for India’s socio-economic development. However, not only has its water management practices have been on an unsustainable path for centuries but also the water situation has steadily deteriorated during the past 40 years. As population, urbanization and economic activities have increased, more water is needed for food production, electricity generation and industrial development. Central and all state governments have always focused on increasing supply of water. No serious and sustained efforts have been ever made to manage demands. Currently, only about 10% of wastewater produced in the country is collected and properly treated. Discharge of untreated and partially treated wastewater has meant all the water bodies near and within urban centres are heavily polluted. While India’s water future currently looks bleak, there is no reason why it should continue to be so. The country has enough expertise, technology and financial resources to solve its current and future water problems. If water management practices are not radically changed within the next decade or so, India will face a water crisis which no other past generation has ever faced.
By Asit K. Biswas, 2022. Article published in Current Science, Volume 122, Number 8, pages 875-876.