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Water Stress and scarcity!

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We have heard about the word "Stress". Those of us who commute long distances often use this word to describe our frustrations on daily basis. Have we thought of phrase "Water Stress"?

Water Stress is referred to a situation where there is not enough water for all users, be it for agriculture or industry or domestic use. According to "World Business Council for Sustainable Development" paper on "Facts and Trends - Water",

  • If the renewable freshwater water availability is less than 1,700 cubic meters, countries starts experiencing periodic or regular water stress
  • If the the renewable freshwater availability is less then 1000 cubic meters, water scarcity begins to hamper economic development and Human health and well-being.
  • A fifth of the world's people, more than 1.2 billion live in areas of physical water scarcity.

Reasons contributing to Water Stress

  1. Excessive withdrawal from surface waters.
  2. Excessive withdrawal of water from underground aquifers.
  3. Pollution of freshwater resources
  4. Inefficient use of freshwater

Obviously question for you and me is, Is Bengaluru falls in the category of  "Water Stress" or "Water Scarcity"? How much freshwater is available in Bengaluru?


psaram42's picture

Scarcity of water or Planning disaster?

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After air water is the most important commodity for life sustenance in our planet. We cannot survive more than a minute without breathing, where as we can survive only a couple of days without drinking water. There is no scarcity of air to breathe because we are submerged in it, in the same way as there is no scarcity of water for fish in the ocean. However contamination is of concern to life in both cases. 

The city of Bangalore depends on the river Cauvery for its drinking water. With the completion of stage IV development we have reached the end. There is no more water in KRS to exploit. The Bangalore “water stress” has started when people had to pump water to their over head tanks after collecting enough water at least for two days which is the cycle for BWSSB water supply. As there is no Cauvery water available more bore wells are being dug up every day. With ground water levels depleting fast, the second stage of “water stress” have begun. The water tankers are having the field day right now. 

We are at the third phase viz recycling of the water stress at present. All big apartments have mandatory recycling plants for sanitary water. Drinking water is bought at a price and probable risk. 

The amount of total Water on our planet is constant as nothing can escape gravity. Hence it is better to plan in terms of population. There is a limit to which our planet can support life. There is also an optimum ratio for animal and plant life on the planet to maintain the correct oxygen level in the air to sustain life. Bangalore is no exception. There is a limit to which the city can grow efficiently. Bruhat Bangalore is causing the water and other stresses. 

kbsyed61's picture

It's both - Bad Planning and Abuse!

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psaram sir,

You have rightly pointed out how the precious resource is pushed towards stress and ultimately into 'SCARCITY' zones.

As the referenced paper points out, the stress and scarcity of water is due to both Bad planning and abuse of the scared resource.

kbsyed61's picture

Trends that affect freshwater use!

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The paper 'Facts and Trends - Water' which is referenced in the post, has some interesting points about trends that will affect the freshwater uses.

  1. Population Growth - Will grow to 8 Billion in 2030 and by 9 Billion in 2050.
  2. Increasing affluence - More water consumption
  3. Expansion of business activity - Increased water usage
  4. Rapid Urbanization - In next 20 years, every minute 30 Indians migrates to urban years. India needs 500 new cities.
  5. Climate Change
  6. Aging Infrastructure comment guidelines

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