World Water Day is recognised by the United Nations to highlight the goal to provide clean water "for all" by 2030. "Marginalised groups — women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people and many others — are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need," the official website said, stressing on the theme for this year, 'Leave no one behind'.
India accounts for almost one-fourth of the total groundwater extracted globally, more than that of China and the US combined, thus using the largest amount of groundwater, 24 percent of the global total, according to a new report.
Export of food and clothing items, while important sources of income, exacerbates this problem if production is not made sustainable, making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get access to clean water supply, warned the report released by WaterAid to mark World Water Day on 22 March.
The report by WaterAid, a non-profit organisation, titled "Beneath the Surface: The State of the World's Water 2019", also said India the rate of groundwater depletion in India has increased by 23 percent between 2000 and 2010. "India is the third largest exporter of groundwater, 12 percent of the global total," the report said.
It further said wheat and rice were the two most important and highest water-guzzling crops that India produced. "Rice is the least water-efficient grain and wheat has been the main driver in increasing irrigation stress. Replacing rice and wheat with other crops like maize, millets, sorghum mapped to suitable geographies could reduce demand of irrigation water by one-third.
"Though replacement of rice and wheat crops is challenging, in an ideal scenario, choice of crop needs to be matched with ecology and the amount of water available in the area it is being produced in," the report said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2019 08:58:22 IST