What is water stress? How and why does it differ regionally in India? (250 words)

Water stress refers to the situation where the demand for water exceeds the available supply, or when the quality of water is so poor that it cannot be used. It occurs when there is a deterioration of freshwater resources in terms of both quantity and quality.

Causes of Water Stress:

  • Overconsumption of water resources
  • Decline in water quality due to pollution and other human activities
  • Scarcity of water due to climate change and other factors

Regional Variation in India:

  • Western India: Arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat face water scarcity due to scanty rainfall and incorrect cropping patterns.
  • North and Eastern India: High population density and industrial activities lead to pollution of rivers, making drinking water unavailable in many areas.
  • Northeast: Despite high rainfall, the region faces water crisis due to anthropogenic reasons like mining and lack of conservation strategies.
  • South India: Erratic rainfall, pollution of rivers, over-dependence on groundwater and lack of conservation efforts lead to acute water shortage in many regions.
  • Himalayas: Urbanization and pollution are affecting water availability in the region.

Reasons for Regional Variation:

  • Agricultural patterns: Some agricultural regions over-utilize water leading to shortages.
  • Population density: High population density in certain areas leads to increased demand for water.
  • Water management practices: Lack of modern or traditional water management techniques in certain regions leads to water stress.

The water stress situation in India is alarming and requires immediate attention. Long-term solutions such as modification in water distribution techniques and conservation efforts are needed to address the problem. Additionally, reducing pollution, implementing sustainable agricultural practices and improving water management practices are some of the steps that can be taken to mitigate water stress in India.

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