A report of On-Spot Study of Water Situation in Drought Affected Areas of the country (2015-16) has recommended construction of water harvesting structures, mass awareness among citizen for water conservation, construction of new water storage structures, interlinking of rivers, renovation and repair of existing water bodies as some of the important measures to meet the challenges of overall water scarcity scenario in the country.
The study was carried out by Central Water Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. Various long/short term measures (being taken up and to be taken up) to mitigate water scarcity situation have also been recommended which are region/area/state specific.
In some areas like Marathwada (Maharashtra), Bundelkhand (Uttar Pradesh) and Madhya Pradesh interlinking projects have been recommended. Water budgeting and planning the cropping patterns for the oncoming agricultural season(s), the strategy for avoiding water intensive crops to the extent in consultation with the relevant expert departments are also crucial for checking such situation. Micro irrigation (sprinkler and drip) should be adopted to achieve more crops per drop.
The study says that at almost all places minimum domestic water requirements are being met through importing water from other regions, if required; by digging local deep bore wells and also by tankers. Ground water levels have been reported as falling in almost all regions of the country due to over exploitations and inadequate recharging mechanism for ground water. However, no specific observation on water quality has been reported at most of the areas except in Gujarat, where problem of salinity in coastal areas has been reported.
According to the report, the water scarcity situation is prevailing in the country, but some pockets like Marathwada in Maharashtra, Bundelkhand in U.P. and MP, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are more affected by water scarcity situation. The main cause of water scarcity in country is consecutive failure of monsoon, resulting low storages in dams, during last two years.
Rainfall deficit in country as a whole during 2015 was 14 per cent and in 2014 it was 12 per cent. Earlier, year 2012 was also a rainfall deficit year with 11 per cent deficit. Consecutive less rainfall also resulted less carryover storage in reservoirs.