Water problem in India | India water problem

The water problem in India is an ongoing concern that affects nearly hundreds of millions of people each year. For a long time, many scholars and thinkers have warned the general public that there will be a massive water problem due to the increasing population and industrialization in the future.

In addition to affecting the enormous rural and urban residents, the water problem in India also vastly affects the ecosystem and agriculture. Wise fellows have also told that the next world war will probably be over the issue of water. India has only 4% of the world’s freshwater resources despite over 1.3 billion people. Although the case of water is challenging worldwide, it is increasing at a faster rate in India.


There are two significant sources of water in India:

1. Flowing rivers 

2. Groundwater

There has been a massive shortage of both these sources. So let us first see what the demand for water in India is and how much it will be in the coming time. Then, suppose the 1997 water use is considered the basis and based on that. In that case, the following figures emerge:

Net demand for water:

1997 – 593 billion cubic meters

2010 – 652 billion cubic meters

2025 – 734 billion cubic meters

2050 – 837 billion cubic meters

The above demand will be the minimum demand of the year. But the need for water will not be identical throughout the year. Therefore, the maximum water demand will be as follows.

2010 – 688 billion cubic meters

2025 – 793 billion cubic meters

2050 – 1104 billion cubic meters

Now let’s see how much water we can use. Our various rivers and the usable water located in them are as follows.

Rivers and usable water:

Indus River (up to the limit) – 63.81 BCM

The River Ganges – 422.01 BCM

Brahmaputra – 46.01 BCM

Godavari – 121.28 BCM

Dark woman – 82.62 BCM

Kaveri – 29.42 BCM

Mahanadi – 68.19 BCM

Swarna Rekha – 9.66 BCM

Sabarmati – 6.30 BCM

Narmada – 47.50 BCM

Tapti – 21.23 BCM

Other – 918.03 BCM, and 191.87 BCM

Total – 1110 BCM

Due to these factors, the estimation of groundwater becomes difficult. Use of this groundwater after being brought to the earth’s surface, and then a part of it reaches back down to the planet. There is no uniformity in the process. The reasons for the lack of uniformity are the lack of uniformity in the following:

1. Annual rainfall

2. Remaining water back down after irrigation

3. Back down the water of the canals

4. Back down of water from watersheds like lakes, ponds

We can easily estimate river flow at the mouth of the river. Besides, we can predict additional water in the rainy month or less in the summer.

The assumptions made about groundwater in various ways are as follows:

Quality of water:

When adequate salt export is not taking place from a river basin to the sea to fully harness the river water, it leads to closer river basins. As a result, the available water in the downstream area of the river basin becomes alkaline and saline water. Land irrigated with alkaline or saline water gradually becomes saline or alkali soils. In alkali soils, water drip is unsatisfactory, leading to waterlogging situations.

The increase of alkali soils would force the farmers to grow rice or grasses only as the soil productivity is skimpy with other crops and tree plantations. Cotton is the desired crop in saline soils compared to many other crops as their outcome is insufficient. In northeastern states, the high acidic nature of soils due to excessive rainfall affects agriculture productivity. 

Ground Water:

It is the water below the upper surface of the earth that permeates to the depths. This water also flows and moves like rivers but below the upper surface. If its flow becomes obstructed, stops, or slows down, it becomes saline and unfit for drinking. India is the world’s biggest groundwater user. It extracted 251 billion cubic meters of groundwater in 2010; in comparison, America extracted 112 billion cubic meters of groundwater. However, out of 670 BCM total groundwater, 450 BCM is available on days other than rainy days. Moreover, according to CGWB, from 2007 to 2017, groundwater exploitation caused the groundwater level to reduce by 61 percent in India.

The uncontrolled extraction of groundwater has declined and polluted the water resources, threatening the people who depend on these water sources daily. According to NITI Ayog in 2018, “the country was suffering from the worst water crisis in history.” The report also revealed that 21 Indian cities would run out of groundwater by 2020. Groundwater meets over half of the country’s water supply needs, and Indians use about 89% of the groundwater extracted for irrigation. Traditional irrigation techniques are also to blame for the water problem. They result in massive water loss and evaporation during the irrigation process. Therefore, we can only extract 350 BCM groundwater for various purposes. But, there is a tremendous demand for groundwater. 


According to the CWT, climate change has resulted in a reduction in rainfall and, thereby, the water supply. Nevertheless, India still receives enough rainfall to meet the needs of over 1 billion people. However, India only catches 8 percent of its annual rain due to poor rainwater harvesting. Moreover, due to rapid urbanization, many of the ponds used to capture water have been lost due to the rising population and inefficient city planning guidelines.

The country has also been lacking in the treatment of wastewater for reuse. As a result, People drained out approximately 80 percent of domestic wastewater as waste. Instead, it flows into other water bodies, which leads to saltwater sources such as the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

River pollution:

Due to the lack of long-term water management plans, many rivers run dry, or people pollute them. Although one of the most important rivers in India, Ganga is also the most severely polluted. The pollution mainly results from untreated sewage from densely populated cities, industrial waste, and religious rituals in and around the river. Ganga is a sacred river, and during religious festivals, over 70 million people bathe in the Ganges, believed to wash off their sins. In addition, Hindus throw The bones and ashes remaining after Hindu cremation into the Ganges and other religious debris. Sometimes, people throw half-cremated bodies into the Ganga to decompose in water.

In 1984, the Ganga Action Plan cleaned the Ganges River within 25 years. However, the river is still highly polluted, with many heavy metals and lethal chemicals that can even cause cancer. In addition, insufficient technical knowledge was the reason for the unsatisfying result of the Ganga Action Plan. 

The Yamuna is among the few sacred rivers in India, worshipped by many Indians as a goddess. However, due to the exponential tourist growth and the people of its banks, Yamuna has come under severe duress. Due to this unusual rise, the river has become polluted. As a result, the river has become highly dirty. Therefore, the Indian government has launched the Yamuna Action Plan to help the causality. 

Activities that require water:

1. Irrigation – About 89 percent of the share goes to irrigation.

2. Domestic use- About 10 percent of the share goes for domestic use. This expenditure is increasing due to the increasing population.

3. Industrial Use- The remaining part is used for industrial uses. But due to increasing industrialization, this demand is continuously growing.

Thus the pressure on the groundwater reserves is increasing exponentially. As a result, the water that goes from top to bottom by natural means decreases, and this process need correction. Therefore, a clear policy is required to keep our groundwater reserves full.

Due to increasing pressure, there is an apparent decline in the quality of water received from various sources. As a result, the water of many places is no longer suitable for irrigation or industrial use. As a result, there is an unbleached shortage of drinkable water. If this continues, then in the coming decades, there will be water famine in different parts of the country.

In this article, you learned about the water problem in India. Interlinking rivers while keeping environmental considerations in mind is the answer to providing water to dry areas, with the advantage of harnessing water smashed in floods. Although India has 16 percent of the world’s population, the country possesses only four percent of the world’s freshwater resources.

As a result, India has become the world’s largest extractor of groundwater. This crisis of water only puts women at a higher risk of vulnerability. For centuries, fetching water in India has been perceived as a female’s job. Women, especially in the rural areas, walk miles to collect water from the nearest source. We should end gender roles associated with water.

Although India has progressed in the availability and quality of municipal drinking water systems over the past decades, its enormous population has stressed planned water resources, and rural areas are left out. So guys, keep learning and keep motivating with the website. Finally, save water for our future generation. Thank for reading Water problem in India.

You can also read this…

1) Economic problem in India.

2) English essay on pollution.

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