Since theinception of electricity and boring machines in the rural parts of India, theincreasing threat to groundwater depletion and its degrading quality has becomea matter of great concern. A vast majority of groundwater quality problemspresent today are caused by contamination and over-exploitation, or by combination of both. Rapid urbanization andindustrialization in India has resultedin a steep increase in generation ofwaste.
Due to lack ofadequate infrastructure and resources,this waste is not properly collected, treated or disposed off, leading to accumulation of harmful substances whichseep into the soil, contaminating groundwater. The problem is more severe inand around large cities due to various clusters of industries. In majority ofthese areas groundwater is the onlysource of drinking water, thus a large population is exposed to the risk of consuming contaminated water. Drinking contaminatedgroundwater can have serious health effects. Diseases such as Hepatitis and Dysenterymay be caused by oil, chemical, orgasoline contaminated water. Ifconsumed for long term, contaminated water may even lead to cancer in somecases.
“Nearly60% of all districts in the country are facing issues related to eitheravailability of groundwater, or itsquality, or both”.
If some facts areto be put in perspective:
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As per the World Bank report, if current trends continue, withinabout next 20 years about 60% of all India’s aquifers will be in a criticalcondition. This can have serious implications on the sustainability of agriculture,long-term food security, livelihoods, and economic growth.
“Per an estimation, over a quarter of the country’s harvestwill be at risk”.
There is an urgent need to change the status quo. Strict controls ongroundwater abstraction need to be introduced in order to manage thegroundwater resources of the country. Besidesthis, various options for sustainable water supply such as augmentation ofwater supply through rainwater harvesting, conservation and groundwaterrecharge would enable overall improvement of water resources in the country.
In addition to all the above, we need to put individual efforts, so as to protectand conserve groundwater; such as going native, reducing use of chemicals andpesticides, managing waste properly, using natural household cleaners wheneverpossible, recycling old oil instead of dumping it etc.
There are many different ways one can get involved, as the best option for one areamight not work as well for another. Don’t be afraid to get out and talk to thepeople in charge of the city, county, or municipality, and don’t be afraid toreach out to corporations as well.
We need to take hold of this situation on an urgent basis and educate people onhow to preserve local water bodies such as local Village Ponds, local flora andfauna, and grow more trees, as the more we desert our lands, the more we useground water, it will recede to the point where there is none left, leaving uswith all but a Wasteland.