Industrial water use is closely linked to the economy of a country. Water has traditionally been considered a common property and industry is included in this rubric.
According to the latest scenario regarding use of water for different purposes by the 630 crore population of the world, domestic consumption is only 8 per cent.
The maximum use of water, i.e., 70 per cent is made for agriculture while 22 per cent is used in industries. This estimate has been published in World Water Development Report (WWDR), 2003 of United Nations Development Programme. Simultaneously, it has been projected that in the coming times, industries would invade on distribution of water in both these sectors.
At present, this tendency in industries is becoming visible in view of their increasing demand. In reality, use of water in industries in high income countries has already reached 59 per cent out of the total water portion of fresh water and it is double the use of water used in the agricultural sector. Hence, people are giving priority to industry as compared to agriculture as it is considered as the main indicator of economic development.
Increasing demand of water in industries at present is really a cause of anxiety, because developing countries are following the industrially important countries. Hence, it is probable that in the coming two decades, present use of water in industries (22%) would be double of the existing demand.
According to (WWDR 2003), during the year 1995, annual consumption of water in industries was 752 km’, which would become 1,170 km’ per year by 2025. Maximum increase would be in demand by the industrial sector and in developing countries like India, industrial demand would be more because it is lesser today as compared to developed countries. (Table 12.1). Since, very long time, there has been a tendency of shifting industries from developed countries to developing countries.
Use of water in industries is directly related to the economy of any country. Hence, if gross domestic production of India is increasing, then it is clear that use of water is also increasing in Indian industries. Industries not only use water but by polluting it, they also cause deterioration in quality of water.
According to WWDR- 2003, 70 per cent industrial waste materials are disposed of directly without treatment in developed countries. Consequently, these industries are polluting the water supply that is fit for use. Thus, the matter regarding use of water in industries is interrelated with two issues – first, use of water and second, water pollution.
Per capita availability of water in India is reducing. In 1951, the per capita availability of water per annum was 5177 cubic metres, which reduced to 1869 cubic metres in 2001. It is expected that per capita availability of water per annum would reduce to 1,340 cubic metres by the year 2025.
This would cause enormous shortage of water because 50 per cent capacity of many rivers has already been exploited. About 80 per cent of the gross domestic water supply depends on groundwater, but even then we are continuously polluting this water. Consequently, continuously decreasing water level and problem of pollution are becoming burning issues.
According to the Central Water Resources Ministry, maximum water supply in the country is made in agriculture. It is 80 per cent of the total water availability, whereas domestic consumption is only 5 per cent of total fresh water. Thus, industrial sector is at second place after agriculture.