Increasing demand for groundwater use can threaten agriculture, warns UN

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| Friday, March 20, 2015 - 22:47
First Published |

New Delhi: The world is projected to face a 40 per cent global water deficit by 2030, a UN World Water Development Report said today and warned that increasing demand for groundwater use in India can threaten agricultural production which is the mainstay of majority population.

The report "Water for a Sustainable World," which was released here said that sea level rise is threatening groundwater in coastal areas and coastal cities and even
Kolkata is experiencing saltwater intrusion in groundwater supplies due to uncontrolled groundwater "abstraction". 

India has seen rapid growth in the demand for ground water use with the total number of mechanised wells and tube wells increasing  from less than one million in 1960 to 19 million in 2000, it said.

"If groundwater resources continue to be used beyond sustainable limits, agricultural production, which is the main source of income for the majority of the population in the region will be threatened," the report warned.
 
Noting that Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan together account for nearly half of the world's total ground water use, the report said that demand for water by industry is expected to increase by 400 per cent globally by 2050.

The report stresses the urgent need to change the way water is being used and managed and emphasises the role of public authorities in influencing the strategic choices that will guarantee a lasting future for our water resources.

It further recommends limiting the development of thermal power stations, which produces 80 per cent of electricity and consume vast quantities of water. 

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