Chapters :

Environment resources & its Utilization- 07


The demand of water for industry and domestic is increasing. It is estimated that by 2050, more than half of India will be living in urban areas. The semi-urban and urban population would rely on urban water utilities. Most urban areas have to import water from further distances and many existing water utilities are either financially bankrupt or have huge transmission and distribution losses, as high as 50%.  The quality of urban water infrastructure and water management will have to be upgraded to respond to growing demand. Many water-dependent industries run on India’s power grid, which in turn depends on Hydroelectricity, Nuclear, And Coal Facilities that requires water for cooling purposes.


Climate variability has an impact on water resources and their management. Water is the primary medium through which climate change influences Earth’s ecosystem and thus the livelihood and well-being of societies. The poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be adversely affected. The global warming may affect the hydrological cycle which could result in further intensification of temporal and spatial variations in Precipitation, Snow Melt And Water Availability

The projected implication of climate change and resulting warming in India will adversely affect the water balance in different parts and quality of ground water along the coastal plains. Climate change is likely to affect ground water due to changes in precipitation and evapotranspiration may lead to increased saline intrusion into coastal and island aquifers, while increased frequency and severity of floods may affect groundwater quality in alluvial aquifers. Increased rainfall intensity may lead to higher runoff and possibly reduced recharge. 

The economy of country like India is closely tied to its natural resources and climate sensitive sectors i.e. agriculture, water and forestry and this may face a threat because of projected changes in climate. Adaptation to climate change is closely linked to water and its role in sustainable development. The frequency and intensity of flash floods will increased with melting glaciers and less water will flow during dryer seasons. Water storage facilities have to be improved to manage the source as increased intensity of rainfall during fewer days and drought in subsequent time of year. These include rehabilitating traditional water structures, increasing storage in natural waterways, and also in dams and ponds. Rising temperatures due to climate change, will drastically affect crops that will require more water to withstand heat.


Indispensability of water and its unequal distribution has often led to inter-state or international disputes. According to The United Nations, water disputes result from opposing interests of water users, public or private, a conflict between countries, states, or groups over an access to water resources. 

Water conflicts are driven by growing demand for water, constrained by power asymmetries between stakeholders, and is subject to complex political dynamics which must be taken into consideration in any water sharing negotiation.  Disputes like the Indus water treaty, cauvery water dispute, Teesta river water sharing, interlinking rivers like ken-betwa etc.

Local and international law, commercial interests, environmental concerns, and human rights questions make water disputes complicated to solve. About 40 % of the world’s population lives in river and lake basin shared by two or more countries that is more precisely approximately 90 % lives in countries share basins. These basins and aquifers support the income and livelihood of hundreds of millions of people worldwide and link populations of different countries. These linkages create hydrological, social and economic interdependencies between societies and are vital for reducing poverty and attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Potential trans boundary impacts and conflicts can be best solved by cooperation, adequate legal and institutional frameworks, joint approaches to planning and sharing of benefits and related cost. 

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