Water crisis is continuously increasing in the world for many reasons. One reason is that due to deforestation, rain has disconnected itself from soil leading to water scarcity.
Scientists of the world however consider undesirable changes in climate as the reason for the water crisis.
There is a total of 140 crore cubic metres water on earth, out of which, 97.2 per cent is in saline form and 2.15 per cent is stored in snow peaks and glaciers. According to a recently published statistics by United Nations Organization (UNO), about 12 crore population of developing countries of the world does not get fresh and potable water and every year 2.50 crore persons die because of polluted water in these countries.
Only 75 per cent people in urban areas and 40 per cent people of rural areas in the world get fresh water. It can be estimated on such a basis that during the first decade of the 21st century, grave water crisis would be faced by around 25 countries of the world. According to UNO, such water crisis would be not of quantity only but of quality and distribution also. In most of the areas, this crisis is the result of excessive exploitation and unsystematic use of water. From the universal angle, water crisis is assuming dangerous dimensions.
Out of 25 countries , 19 are African countries where people do not get fresh water, though in whole of the continent, availability of water per year is 4,00,000 crore cubic metres. Unfortunately due to lack of basic facilities, and lack of technical and financial knowhow, only 4 per cent water is utilized. In the whole of the Asian continent, 1, 30,000 crore cubic metres water is available. In India, due to lack of industrial balance and suitable water management, water is being wasted. In Russia, 90 per cent water flows to the seas.
In the whole world, 60 per cent water of total available quantity is used by urban areas and for industrial purposes, but due to excessive exploitation, grave water crisis is being faced. According to one estimate, only 21 per cent water of the 245 rivers of Europe can be considered fresh and free from bacterial pollution.
About 13 per cent water of the world is available in American and Caribbean countries, but most of the rivers are polluted. There is acute imbalance in per capita availability of water in the world. While the United States of America and Canada use the maximum of water available, in Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine and other West Asian countries, less than 10,000 cubic metre per capita per year water is available, which is likely to reduce to 406 by 2015 and 397 by 2050. The ratio in Europe is likely to increase to 1,010 cubic metres per year in 2015 and 1,020 cubic metre in 2050 from 905 cubic metres. It is clear that the solution to the water crisis is its suitable management. As per one estimate by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, 70 per cent water available in India is not potable. In our country, though there is sufficient availability of water, but per capita consumption is very less. It is only 610 cubic metre per year whereas, it is 1,000 cubic metres per year in Australia, Argentina and United States of America.
Apart from surface water, even groundwater is being overexploited in India. As compared to surface water, groundwater is less expensive and of better quality. It is estimated that groundwater is spread over 452 sq. km in India. Every year, 43.13 million hectare metres groundwater is used, out of which 38.08 million hectare metres is used for agriculture and 7.09 million hectare metres for industries and domestic use. Groundwater is a moving and recyclable resource, which is directly dependent on the amount of rainfall.