Ganga Basin States to Face Crop Failures by 2040


In News

An assessment on the River Ganga by the World Bank Report has pointed out that the Ganga basin states are going to face the increased risk of crop failure and drinking water shortages from now and 2040.

Highlights of The Report :

  • As per the report, crop failures will increase by three-fold and drinking water woes may go up to 39% in some basin states.
  • If current trend follows, by 2040 Uttarakhand will see irrigation water deficit to the tune of 28%, Himachal Pradesh – 10%, Uttar Pradesh – 10% and Bihar – 15%.
  • Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and UP will see drinking water deficiency to the tune of 39%, 22%, and 25%.
  • The report noted that groundwater extraction is set to double; the current low flow values are further going to be reduced; environmental flow and water quality which are already critical will are set to decline in the future.
  • The report was prepared based on a modeling study on parameters such as groundwater levels, water quality and river flow from various states across the Ganga basin.
  • The data collected was extrapolated to infrastructure, land use, population, industry and agriculture settings along with the precipitation and temperature settings of each state.
  • The report aims to build a strong knowledge base which is actionable. It provides for strategic basin planning and development of the river Ganga.

What it’s Solutions

  • The report has noted that the solutions are not easy to come by. It has listed some interventions to tackle the situation.
  • It called for increased water use efficiency.
  • It wanted ‘more job per drop’ than wholesale crop production.
  • Improved municipal sewage water treatment.
  • Reduction in pollution loads into the river. This, the report argues will help in the making available clean drinking water, maintaining ecosystem service and reduction in water-related diseases and illnesses.

Why it’s “A Long Task” :

  • It has been the promise of many governments to depollute the river Ganga.
  • But, after crores of investment still the situation of the river remains the same.
  • Environmentalists say that the ecology of the river can be saved only by constructing more Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and diverting all the drains that discharge into the river into the STPs.
  • Efforts are on to construct STPs across the region under the Namami Gange, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) programme.

About the Namami Gange Programme :

The flagship programme of the Central Government is to rejuvenate River Ganga.

The Programme has 8 Components which are:

  • Construction of STPs
  • River-Front Development
  • River Surface Cleaning
  • Bio-diversity
  • Afforestation
  • Public Awareness
  • Industrial Effluent Monitoring
  • Ganga Gram
  • The total outlay for the project was Rs. 20000 crore.

Going Ahead

  • If the numbers of the report comes true in the future, the possible catastrophe is unimaginable. The states through which the Ganga passes are all populous states with high dependency on agriculture. Coupled with climate change, we can only imagine how the future scenario could be.

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It is time the governments across the states and the central government take the report seriously and implement strategies to save the River Ganga and the people dependent on it.

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