Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Tuesday said climate change will impact the water cycle and therefore affect food security but effective water conservation is possible only with community participation.
“Climate change is already impacting our water cycle, it is further going to impact severely. It will also impact our water resources. The already felt impacts of floods and droughts are definitely its footprints. This will pose a threat to our food security,” Shekhawat said at the virtual session of a webinar on ‘International Water Security and Climate Change Conference 2021’.
The conference was organised by the Global Counter Terrorism Council in partnership with multiple agencies, including the Central Water Commission and the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage.
Climate change is a global problem, not limited geographically and it is knocking at our doors every day, he said.
Pointing out that food supply chains are global nowadays, the Minister said, “Therefore, despite abundance of water in any region, that region can face food insecurity as other areas are facing the impact of that threat due to climate change.”
India faces more challenges in the face of climate change because there is a huge geographical diversity, he said, adding, “Plus, we have a large population that is growing. We have maximum contaminated water systems. We have 18 per cent share of world population but only 4 per cent of water.”
Listing the number of schemes that the Modi government and his Ministry have implemented for water, the Minister said, “But only government effort is not enough. We need awareness among common people and seek their help with responsibility.”
Because ground water withdrawal is maximum in India, therefore, despite a plethora of dams as much as 65 per cent irrigation in India is dependent on groundwater, he added.
The Minister said under the government’s ambitious ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, as many as 5.5 crore new connections have been provided, up from the 3.23 crore in 2019 when the campaign started taking the total to 8.73 crore tap water connections.
“By the end of 2024, we should be able to complete this programme. And, not just for drinking water, but we should also be able to work out grey water management and sustainability of water sources.”
He urged the people that for each leaking tap, drop by drop it means almost 3-4 litres of water is wasted per day.
“Even if that is stopped across India, we can save so much water,” the Minister said.
“Today, we can take water conservation measures out of conviction but if not taken now, tomorrow we would need to do it out of compulsion,” Shekhawat said, adding that, “The way to reach it goes through people’s participation. We cannot achieve any kind of conservation without community participation.”