Water is an important natural resource, essential for survival. This resource is not uniformly distributed over the space. Millions of people around the world are suffering due to the scarcity of water. In some places, people are even forced to drink polluted water, as they have no other alternative. With these existing problems, the demand for water has been escalating.
India accounts for 45% of water resources of the world. There are basically two types of water resources— surface water resource and ground water resource. The demand for water is huge in the agricultural sector, as India is an agrarian economy. Agriculture sector withdraws 89% of the surface water and 92% of the ground water, while the industrial sector accounts for 2% of the surface water utilization and 55% of the ground water resources.
There are many emerging problems related to water resources. The major problem is that of water pollution which is caused by the ever increasing population. The water gets polluted by foreign matters such as the microorganisms, chemicals, industrial and other wastes.
In view of the emerging water problems, water conservation and management becomes important and essential.
The first and foremost step is to prevent water pollution. Various steps like the Water Act, 1974 and the Water Cess Act, 1977 have been taken, which had marginal impact on bringing down the pollution levels.
Recycling and reusing water can also help in improving the fresh water availability. This will help in conserving the better quality of water for drinking.
Watershed management, which includes efficient management and conservation of surface and groundwater resources, is also an important measure for water conservation.
Some of the important watershed development and management programme initiated by the government are: Haryali, Neeru-Meeru and Arvary Pani Sansad. Rainwater harvesting can also help a great deal in solving the problem of fresh water availability.