Water crisis: India – Quenching the thirst of a growing nation.

Posted in: Drinking Water News, Global water resources, Ground Water News, Water Crisis, Water shortage
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Article courtesy of Vishwanath Narayan | October 16, 2012 | CIOL | Shared as educational material only

BANGALORE, INDIA: A growing economy such as India is well focused on its industrialization strategy, but have we laid down a plan to address the increasing demand for water supply?

How can we ensure that the nation has enough water to fulfill the ever increasing demand when ground water is depleting at an alarming rate? Is India ready for impending water scarcity? Do we have a mechanism to measure and monitor the most valuable natural resource? These concerns are grave and require immediate actions any further delay can lead to inevitable disaster.

India needs a smarter way to address the water demand which is expected to double by 2050. The current misery of the water state in the country in a result of multitude factors. Industrialization, agriculture sector and infrastructure growth are projected to drive tremendous water consumption, the rapidly increasing population and changing lifestyles has also put intense pressure on the demand for fresh water.

Acute water shortage due to inadequate rainfall in the rural India has forced the people to move to cities in search of availability of basic amenities. The problem is that for too long, water has not been measured and monitored. Until recently, in most of the world, there was little reason to take these basic steps.

Water was a commodity. It was cheap. However, now, the days of readily available sources of water are coming to an end.

The floods this year in the North Eastern States and the drought in the Southern States are yet again a strong reminder of the water crisis that India is facing. One can estimate that in the coming years the conditions are going to be worst as ground water depletion has started affecting most of the river basins and by 2050 most of the river banks will deplete by 50 per cent which would be a drastic setback.

Already, the impact of a scarcity of water can be felt in several countries, including China, the US, and India, because of widespread over pumping for industrial, agricultural and residential use. One result could be a decline in food harvests in some countries, a consequence that will have a broader impact than in the past because of the tight links that globalization is forging between economies and communities.

If adequate and sustainable water management initiatives are not implemented now then the situation will be soon out of control.

From city Municipal Corporation handling water supply, various industries, agriculture sector to every single household in the country should optimize the use of water at every step. The current water management system backed by leaky infrastructure is making the condition scary day by day and aiding to the problem. Today we have the technologies which can address the challenges of water efficiency, ageing infrastructure, and increased demand for proactive water-related risk management in a much effective and smarter way.

Fortunately, with these advances in technology, sophisticated sensor networks, smart meters, deep computing and analytics, we can be smarter about how we manage our most valuable resource. Today, we can monitor measure and analyze entire water ecosystems, from rivers and reservoirs to the pumps and pipes in our homes. Technology can provide the capabilities to measure, sense and detect the condition of water and the support infrastructure, which helps to fill the existing information gap.

For example, by notifying the engineering team of an oversupply of water to a location as soon as it occurs, the team can respond quickly, helping to minimize the inequity in water. Historical and predictive analytics can be applied to water-related data to derive new insights to enable innovation and process optimization. For example, analyzing current and historical water data can identify water usage patterns. These patterns, along with population growth predictions, can help form the basis for understanding future water needs.

We now have advanced water management solutions, such as the Water Information Hub which can help people and organizations use water efficiently and effectively. These solutions aid in resolving challenges with water management and provide visibility across the entire water life cycle. This solution provides a system level view of water infrastructure and operations across a variety of disparate data sources and systems.

It creates a common operating picture that enables collaboration and a foundation for analytical tools. The results include more efficient operations, optimized resources and more informed decision making. With this range of capabilities, water providers have the information and insights that they need to make well-informed and action-oriented decisions. The steps taken today will definitely impact our future and with such advanced technologies, we can be rest assured to have a smarter future.

The author is CTO, Industry Solutions Architecture, India Software Lab at IBM.

©CIOL Bureau


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