Burgeoning Water Consumption and its Decreasing Availability in India : A Demand – Supply Mismatch

Burgeoning Water Demand in India

Inadequate access to water  is one of the biggest problem faced by most of the countries of the world. But this shortage of water has become a critical issue especially in the third world (African-Asian countries). Among this group of countries, India is one such nation where demand of water has continuously overlapped its supply. From past many years an uninterrupted increase in the demand of water has been witnessed by the country. But since 2003 India’s water requirement has grown steeply than any country in the world. The total water demand in the country in 2003 was close to 465 BCM  which has increased to 634 BCM in 2013(Standing committee on water resources). Ever-expanding population  & urbanization followed by the industrial growth  are some of the prime reasons driving this water demand and consumption of agriculture , industrial and household sectors in the country.

Being an agrarian economy ,India’s water demand is highly dominated by agriculture sector. It is pertinent to note that close to 85% of available utilizable water in the country is withdrawn for irrigational activities. Where as industrial sector accounts only 8% of water demand and remaining 7% is consumed for domestic purpose. Since growth of India’s industrial sector is under clouds presently. Only  4-4.5% growth is witnessed by this secondary sector  as of now(2013).But it is expected to bloom in coming years. The industrial sector in the country is expected to grow at 8-9% by 2022 i.e. double than as of now. And hence the industrial water consumption is most likely to increase by 6-7% in 2022, which means by next decade India’s industrial sector water demand will grow to 13-14%. As on August 2013 total water demand  by major cities in the country was  233 MLD and against this total water supply in the country was 161 MLD. The overall water demand in the country is expected to grow somewhere between 17-20% by 2025.According to the projections of Standing Sub-committee report  of MOWR the total water demand of India by 2025 will grow to approximately 1150 BCM and  1500 BCM by 2050.

Year Wise Overall Water Demand in India

Sector Wise Breakup of Water Demand in India

Water Demand in India- Urban & Rural Breakup

Growing population both in the rural and urban areas is one the major factor responsible for ever-expanding water demand in the country. Presently (2013) India is the home of 1.25 billion population out of which more than 60% resides in the rural areas whereas the  remaining 30-35% constitute the urban race. But by 2030 it is expected that the share of urban population will increase upto 40-43% reason being rapid urbanization followed by large migration from rural to urban areas and changing lifestyles etc. Hence the  urban water demand in India will also increase. Presently the total urban water demand in the country prevails to be 190.2 BCM whereas the total water consumed by the rural population is 443.8 BCM.

Urban & Rural Water Demand in India

Declining Per Capita Water Availability

Per capita water availability means the amount of water available to per person in the country i.e. per head water accessibility in the country. Hence it can be said that :

Per Capita water availability = Total water available in the country/ Total population . From last 10 years the per capita availability of water has become serious concern in the country reason being insufficient water supply to meet the ever-expanding demand. Since 2001 fall of close to 16% in the average annual per capita water availability  has been observed in the country. It is very ironical to know that having the water resource potential of 1869.9 billion cubic meter  water India is unable to fulfill the water necessities of its existing inhabitants. Presently basis the per head water accessibility India lies in the water stressed zone but it feared that the country might be trapped under the water scarcity condition by 2050 or by consecutive years.

Estimated and Projected Per Capita Water Availability in India

According to the last census (2010) the total population of India has increased by 21% which has led to the increase in the requirement of water in the country by 58%. But the total water supplied in the country is not sufficient to meet the existing demand of water which has reduced the demand-supply gap of water in the country. The decline in total demand –supply gap from approximately 800BCM in 2000 to nearly 560 BCM in 2013 bears a testimony to this. And hence the resultant is fall in per head accessibility to water in the country. Thus it can be concluded from the preceding lines that there exist a direct relation between D/S gap of water and per capita water availability. Exhibit 05 depicts the same relationship. It can be seen be observed from Exhibit 05 that in last 12 years (Since 2001) India’s water demand-supply gap declined by nearly 30%. Fall in the total demand-supply gap of water from 850 BCM in 2001 to 560 BCM in 2013 bears a testimony to this. It can also be observed that T is the point of intersection of the demand & supply curves, which is shown as the trigger point. Beyond this point demand of water overlaps its supply and hence India is expected to be water scarce with approaching 2050.

Demand - Supply Gap of Water in India

*The views expressed in this article are solely those of enincon perspectives and do not necessarily represent those of Enincon LLP.

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