Q. 1. What do you know about the groundwater resources of India.
Ans. (i) The total replenishable groundwater resources in the country are about 432 cubic km.
(ii) The level of groundwater utilisation is relatively high in the river basins lying in the north-western region and parts of south India.
(iii) The groundwater utilisation is very high in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. However, there are states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc., which utilise only a small proportion of their groundwater potentials.
(iv) States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura and Maharashtra are utilising their groundwater resources at a moderate rate.
(v) If the present trend continues demands for water would need the supplies. And such situation, will be detrimental to development, and can cause social upheaval and disruptions.
Q. 2. Discuss the importance of irrigation.
Ans. (i) Irrigation is needed because of spatio-temporal variability in rainfall in the country. The large tracts of the country are deficient in rainfall and are drought prone. North-western India and Deccan Plateau constitute such area.
(ii) Winter and summer seasons are more or less dry in most part of the country. Hence, it is difficult to practise agriculture without assured irrigation during dry seasons.
(iii) Even in the areas of ample rainfall like West Bengal and Bihar, breaks in monsoon or its failure creates dry spells detrimental for agriculture. Water need of certain crops also makes irrigation necessary. For instance, water requirement of rice, sugarcane, jute, etc., is very high which can be met only through irrigation.
(iv) Provision of irrigation makes multiple cropping possible. It has also been found that irrigated lands have higher agricultural productivity than unirrigated land.
(v) Further, the high yielding varieties of crops need regular moisture supply, which is made possible only by a developed irrigation system.
Q. 3. Discuss how increasing demand for water is a challenge to India.
Ans. Increasing demand for water is a challenge to India:
(i) India has a large population with limited water resources.
(ii) Rising demand for increasing population.
(iii) More water is required for irrigation to increase agriculture production as rainfall is highly variable.
(iv) Rapid industrial growth is increasing demand for water.
(v) Urbanisation and modern life style has increased the demand.
(vi) Water pollution has added to water shortage.
Q. 4. Discuss the availability of water resources in the country and factors that determine its spatial distribution.
Ans. India accounts for about 2.45% of world surface area, 4% of world’s water resources and about 16% of world population.
The total water available from precipitation in the country in a year is about 4000 cubic km. The availability from surface water and replenishable groundwater is 1,869 cubic km. The total utilisable water resources in the country are only 1122 cubic km.
The factors which determine the spatial distribution are discussed below:
(i) Surface water resources: There are four major sources of surface water such as rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. The mean annual flow in all basins in India is estimated to be 1869 cubic km. Only 690 cubic km of available surface water can be utilised.
(ii) Groundwater resources: The total replenishable groundwater resources in the country are about 432 cubic km. Ganga and Brahmaputra basins have about 46% of the total replenishable water in India.
The groundwater utilisation is very high in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu while Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc., utilise very small portion of their groundwater potentials.
(iii) Lagoons: The states like Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal have vast surface water resources in the lagoons and lakes.
Q. 5. Why has the need for conservation and management of water resources in India arisen?
‘‘Conservation and management of water resources is essential in India.’’ Justify the statement with arguments.”
Ans. Need for the conservation and management of water resource in India:
(i) The demand for the fresh water is increasing due to ever growing population, but the availability of fresh water has declined.
(ii) The over-use of groundwater resources has led to decline in groundwater table in some states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
(iii) The high yield varieties of crops require more irrigation.
(iv) Water availability from sea/ocean, due to high cost of desalinisation is considered negligible.
(v) The available water is getting polluted due to domestic, agricultural and industrial effluents.
Q. 6. The depleting water resources may lead to social conflicts and disputes. Elaborate it with suitable examples.
Ans. The available water resources are depleting rapidly. The depletion of water resources has led to social conflicts in the country.
Some examples are as follows:
(i) There was a shortage of water for irrigation in Haryana. The Central Government planned to provide water from the River Satluj, but the people of Punjab did not allow the government. This matter was even decided by the Supreme Court in favour of Haryana. But it did not take the real shape.
(ii) The Kaveri River dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnatka was also such dispute which was settled by the Supreme Court recently.
(iii) Polluted water of the rivers also create the problem in the societies. Several rivers are being polluted by the industries of different states such as Yamuna from Delhi to Etawah, Ganga at Kanpur and Varanasi.
(iv) The Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal dispute between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan also lead to social disputes.
(v) Similarly, the River Krishna dispute between Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has also caused lot of social unrest.
Q. 7. “The restoration of ecological balance between water, soil, plants, human and animal population should be a basic consideration in the strategy of development of drought-prone areas in India”. Explain the statement with suitable facts.
Ans. The restoration of ecological balance between water and soil, plants, human and animal population should be the basic consideration in the strategy of development of drought-prone areas in India. The National Committee on Development of Backward Areas, while analysing the droughtprone area programme pursuant to Fourth Five Year Plan said so. With the development of agriculture and allied sectors, it emphasised on major focus on restoration of ecological balance. Other strategies proposed for development include watershed development approach at micro-level and creation of alternative employment opportunities to reduce pressure on marginal lands for agriculture.
Q. 8. Analyse the economic and social values of rainwater harvesting.
Ans. Demand for water is increasing in most cities as every urban citizen requires almost double the amount of water that a rural citizen requires. Moreover, India is rapidly urbanising. Most of our cities were self-sufficient in meeting their water needs from extensive urban bodies to supply water to citizens. Today these water bodies have completely disappeared. Municipalities have been stretched to their limits to find water for the grown urban populations. The government as well as the private parties are extracting groundwater.
As a social advantage, it is used to reduce the consumption of groundwater; many people around the world are using rainwater harvesting systems. This practice has been around for thousands of years and has been growing at a rapid pace. Till today, rainwater is used as a primary source of drinking water in several rural areas. The best thing about rainwater is that it is free from pollutants as well as salts, minerals and other natural and man made contaminants. In areas where there is excess rainfall, the surplus rainwater can be used for recharging groundwater through artificial recharge technique.
As an economical advantage, rainwater is free from many chemicals found in groundwater, which makes it suitable for irrigation, industrial use and watering gardens. In fact, storing large reservoirs of harvested water is a great idea for areas where forest fires and bush fires are common during summer months.
Q. 9. Describe any five key features of India’s ‘National Water Policy,’ 2002.
Ans. The key features include:
(i) Irrigation and multipurpose projects should invariably include drinking water component, wherever there is no alternative source of drinking water.
(ii) Providing drinking water to all human beings and animals should be the first priority.
(iii) Measures should be taken to limit and regulate the exploitation of groundwater.
(iv) Both surface and groundwater should be regularly monitored for quality. A phased programme should be undertaken for improving water quality.
(v) The efficiency of utilisation in all the diverse uses of water should be improved.
(vi) Awareness of water as a scarce resource should be fostered.
(vii) Conservation consciousness should be promoted through education, regulation, incentives and disincentives.
Q. 10. Describe any five advantages of rainwater harvesting.
Ans. (i) It is a low cost and eco-friendly technique for preserving every drop of water by guiding the rainwater to bore well, pits and wells.
(ii) Rainwater harvesting increases water availability, checks the declining groundwater table, improves the quality of groundwater through dilution of contaminants like fluoride and nitrates, prevents soil erosion, and flooding and arrests salt water intrusion in coastal areas if used to recharge aquifers.
(iii) Besides bridging the demand supply gap, it can also save energy to pump groundwater as recharge leads to rise in groundwater table.
(iv) Urban areas can specially benefit from rainwater harvesting as water demand has already outstripped supply in most of the cities and towns.
(v) There is a wide scope to use rainwater harvesting technique to conserve precious water resource. It can be done by harvesting rainwater on rooftops and open spaces. Harvesting rainwater also decreases the community dependence on groundwater for domestic use.
Q. 11. What is watershed management? Do you think it can play an important role in sustaining development?
Ans. Watershed management basically refers to efficient management and conservation of surface and groundwater resources. It involves prevention of runoff and storage and recharge of groundwater through various methods like percolation tanks, recharge wells, etc. However, in broad sense watershed management includes conservation, regeneration and judicious use of all resourcesnatural (like land, water, plants and animals) and human with in a watershed.
Yes, it does play an important role in sustaining development:
(i) It involves prevention of runoff and storage and recharge of groundwater.
(ii) Watershed management includes conservation and judicious use of all resources.
(iii) Watershed management aims at bringing about balance between natural resources on the one hand and society on the other.
(iv) Watershed development projects in some areas have been successful in rejuvenating environment and economy.
(v) Watershed development also helps in producing secondary resources of plants and animals for use in a manner which will not cause ecological imbalance.
Q. 12. Explain how ‘watershed management’ and ‘rainwater harvesting’ are the methods of efficient management and conservation of surface water resources in India.
Ans. Watershed management:
(i) It prevents runoff, recharges groundwater through percolation tanks, recharge wells, etc.
(ii) Haryali is a watershed development project which aims at enabling the rural population to conserve water for drinking, irrigation, fisheries and afforestation.
(iii) It includes conservation, regeneration and judicious use of all resources: natural and human within a watershed.
(iv) Neeru-Meeru Programme in Andhra Pradesh and Arvary Pani Sansad in Rajasthan have taken up construction of various water harvesting structures such as percolation tanks, check dams, etc.
(i) Traditional rainwater harvesting mainly in rural areas is done by using surface storage bodies like lakes, ponds, irrigation tanks, etc.
(ii) In Rajasthan rainwater harvesting structures, locally known as kunds or tankas are constructed near or in the house or village to store harvested rainwater.
(iii) It raises water availability, increases the quantity and improves the quality of groundwater by diluting pollutants/ contaminants, prevents soil erosion, reduces the fury of floods and checks salt water intrusion in coastal areas.
NOTE: At least two points from each method to be explained.