Citizens' Issues
Groundwater levels plunge, contamination rises, crisis grows
Kolhapur/Delhi: Five years ago, when Ramakant Desai, 55, hired a drilling rig to sink a borewell to irrigate his maize fields, he struck water at 200 ft. Today, the rig must drill more than four times as deep to 900 ft.
 
This is a common story in Desai's village of Gargoti in the southern Maharashtra district of Kolhapur, as it is 682 km to the north in Jalgaon district's Bhusaval, where Rajendra Nad, 52, narrates a similar story, complicated by fertiliser overuse. "Overuse of fertilisers has contaminated our groundwater", said Nad, who farms millet, sorghum and groundnut.
 
In a country where 74 percent of farmland is not irrigated and water shortages are growing - a report by the EA Water consultancy warns India will become "water scarce" by 2025 - depleting groundwater levels add to an ongoing farm crisis. In recognition of groundwater declines, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his government would spend 
Rs.6,000 crore (almost $900 million) on "groundwater management", but the details are unclear.
 
India draws more freshwater annually compared to any other country - 761 billion cubic meters per year for domestic, agricultural and industrial use, according to four-year (2011 to 2015) World Bank data. The scarcity has worsened because more than half of that water is now contaminated, mainly by industry and sewage, sparking diarrhoea, typhoid and viral hepatitis.
 
With larger population, China uses 28 percent less freshwater than India
 
A common argument is that India's growing water use in inevitable. But China, with 1.4 billion people, uses 554.1 billion cubic meters of freshwater every year - that's 28 percent less than India.
 
The consequence: India's annual per capita availability of water fell 74 percent over 69 years, from 6,042 cubic metres in 1947 to 1,545 cubic metres in 2011, according to a government water policy report.
 
"The political economy of subsidies has resulted in unsustainable extraction and use of groundwater and eventually to its depletion," said Ayan Biswas, a water-management expert. Farmers using cheap, subsidised electricity are encouraged to draw groundwater without restriction, he said.
 
Water depletion in rural India is a result of unsustainable agriculture practices such as farms in water-scarce regions with water-hungry crops like paddy, cotton and sugarcane.
 
Groundwater levels "critical" in nine states
 
In nine states - in south, west and central India - groundwater levels are now described as "critical", according to a 2016 parliament committee report on water resources. "Critical" implies a stage where 90 percent of groundwater has been extracted, with a significant decline in recharge capability.
 
As of December 2015, of 6,607 units (blocks, mandals, talukas) assessed, 1,071 in 16 states and two in union territories, were categorised as "over-exploited", which means 100 percent of groundwater has been drawn, with little chance of recharge.
 
Groundwater levels in India are now more critical than anywhere else on earth, IndiaSpend previously reported. More than half of India now faces what is called "high" to "extremely high" water stress, most across the fertile Ganga-Brahmaputra basin.
 
Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have the most over-exploited blocks.
 
More than half of India's groundwater is contaminated
 
The other aspect of the water crisis is contamination. Surface and groundwater is laced with fluoride, nitrate, arsenic and iron.
 
As many as 650 cities and towns lie along polluted rivers, which contaminate groundwater, according to the latest report of the Central Pollution Control Board.
 
"Poor environmental management systems" in industries lead to toxic and organic waste discharges of water, the report said. This has resulted in "pollution of surface and groundwater sources from which water is drawn for irrigation and domestic use".
 
More than half of India's groundwater is contaminated, according to the Central Groundwater Board report. As many as 276 districts have high levels of fluoride, 387 districts report nitrates above safe levels and 86 districts have high levels of arsenic, the report said.
 
On average, contaminated water caused 10 million cases of diarrhoea, 740,000 cases of typhoid and 150,000 viral-hepatitis cases between 2007 and 2011, the groundwater board said.
 
Back in Jalgaon, Nad's village is falling back on traditional methods to fight the crisis. "We are looking at reviving the watercourse, to water pooling," he said. "Hopefully these will provide water for drinking and crops during dry spells."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Exercise well, eat healthy to charge up your kidneys
New Delhi : Eating healthy and exercising regularly can check the risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure -- the key factors responsible for development of kidney disease, said an expert on the occasion of World Kidney Day on Thursday.
 
"High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and regular intake of common anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can increase the risk of developing kidney diseases -- a serious condition in which the kidneys fail to rid the body of wastes. Kidney failure is the final stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD)," said Dr Sanjeev Gulati, director (nephrology) at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital in New Delhi.
 
Nearly 50 percent of people who suffer from high blood sugar levels are prone to the risk of kidney disease. 
 
In addition, people with a high blood pressure -- that is, upwards of 140/90 mmHg -- are also at high risk of developing kidney problems.
 
"Further, the blood flow to the kidneys is impaired as a result of excessive smoking. Smoking reduces the normal functioning of kidneys and increases the risk of kidney cancer by 50 percent," Gulati told IANS.
 
"Healthy lifestyles should be adopted early in life to keep kidney diseases at bay," he added.
 
Healthy eating habits include limited intake of salt, reduced amount of processed food and increased consumption of home cooked meals and drinking adequate amount of water.
 
"These can keep an individual's weight under control as well as prevent diabetes, heart diseases and other ailments that are associated with kidney disease," Gulati said.
 
An exercise regimen suitable for optimum fitness levels should be maintained. However, overexerting oneself when one is not fit and healthy can put a strain on the kidneys, and sometimes even cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue, the expert advised.
 
Public awareness, especially among schools, teachers and parents, is essential to check the increasing problem of kidney diseases.
 
"Moreover, annual check-ups are necessary for people above 40, and especially for those suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure," Gulati said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Singapore is world's most expensive city
Singapore : Singapore has been ranked the world's most expensive city to live in, a survey released on Thursday showed.
 
Hong Kong has moved up in the ranking to the second place with Zurich in Switzerland, Xinhua news agency reported.
 
Singapore had the highest score of 116 while Zurich and Hong Kong had 114, the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) latest report on worldwide cost of living showed. 
 
These increases are set against a backdrop of global volatility, with falling oil and commodity prices as well as currency devaluations and geopolitical uncertainty playing a part, said the report.
 
Only eight cities of the 133 surveyed saw their ranking position remain unchanged in the last 12 months. 
 
Shanghai is now as expensive as Tokyo, which was the world's most expensive city most of the times in the last two decades.
 
Despite drastic declines in many Eurozone locations, Paris remains the fifth most expensive city in the world. 
 
The US dollar has reached 10-year highs, pushing up the cost of living across the US compared to other locations, especially ailing Latin American countries. 
 
New York is now among the 10 most expensive cities globally for the first time since 2002.
 
South Asian cities continue to offer the best value for money. Cities in India and Pakistan account for five of the 10 cheapest cities. 
 
The bi-annual survey by EIU compares over 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. 
 
These items include food, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport and utility bills. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

COMMENTS

Anand Vaidya

1 year ago

But quality of life (pollution, civic amenities, taxation, cleanliness, lack of corruption, ease of doing business etc) in Singapore is vastly superior to places like Mumbai & Delhi!

The cost of living must consider that factor too...

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)