Day 57 – Q.3 India is well endowed with fresh water resources. Critically examine why it still suffers from water scarcity.

  • IASbaba
  • January 23, 2023
  • 0
GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing, World Geography
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

India is well endowed with fresh water resources. Critically examine why it still suffers from water scarcity.

भारत ताजे जल संसाधनों से संपन्न है। समालोचनात्मक परीक्षण कीजिए कि यह अभी भी पानी की कमी से क्यों जूझ रहा है।


Candidates can start the answer by basically referring to Indian water resources and then shortly analyse the causes of water scarcity.


India’s average total annual rainfall which is higher than the world average of 990 mm should normally suffice to meet the country’s critical needs. India has enough fresh water to meet its needs but the problem is the unequal distribution and sporadic nature of monsoon.


  • India is a monsoonal country with abundant surface and ground water across its length and breath. It accounts for 18% of the world population and about 4% of the world’s water resources.
  • Water resources in India include precipitation, surface, groundwater storage and hydropower potential.
  • India receives an average rainfall of about 1170 mm which corresponds to an annual precipitation of about 4000 BCM (Billion Cubic Metre) including snowfall.
  • As per the latest assessment, the annual replenishable ground water resource of country has been estimated as433 billion cubic meter(bcm), out of which 399 bcm is considered to be available for development for various uses.

Causes of water scarcity:

  • Unequal water distribution as most of the rainfall that is received in India is distributed over a specific time and area. The level of water table rises during rainfall months but then decreases when there is no rainfall.
  • Overpopulated cities, which create pressure on natural resources add to the problem of water scarcity.
  • Due to inefficient irrigation techniques and small land holdings for agriculture, over-exploitation of groundwater is in practice. This has lowered the water table, leading to conflict between the demands from industry, agriculture and domestic sector.
  • Lack of recycling capacity for used water and low emphasis on water treatment and reuse along with dumping of municipal and industrial waste in water bodies has led to reduction in input to water sources.
  • Low awareness about rain water harvesting, water usage efficiency coupled with increasing purchasing power of people has increased demand leading to magnification of the problem.
  • Increasing Geogenic groundwater pollution as well as increasing river pollution limits utilizable water in the country.
  • The concretization in urban areas and encroachment of water bodies in both urban and rural areas not only prevent surface storage and groundwater recharge but also causes disasters like floods. Guwahati’s Deepor Beel, for example, is used by the municipal corporation to dump solid waste.
  • Climate change increases incidences of droughts and reduce annual precipitation in drought prone central and North West India.
  • The water harvesting and reuse technology is still a luxury in India, the people in rural and small towns face hardship for purchase, use, and repair because of less motivation among both public officials and general public for use of these equipment.

Way forward:

  • Water-use efficiency in agriculture can be ensured by making farmers aware and by providing them, on the ground, technologies like the one related to water resistant crops.
  • In-situ water conservation techniques like rain water harvesting, check dams need to be continued.
  • Managing the demand side of water management is crucial as India cannot increase the per capita availability of water.
  • Hiware Bazar Model like replication where village very well manages the 300-400 millimeters (mm) of rainfall that it receives every year.


The Government needs to holistically handle the supply as well as the demand side of water management and everybody in the society, i.e., the central government, the state governments (water, being the state subject), citizens, NGOs and companies need to come together to tackle water crisis in the country.

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel –

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates