Our past mistakes are the cause of the drought disaster we face today. While there is no way to simply click an ‘Undo’ button to make things go back to normal, the government can definitely make sure the scenario doesn’t get from bad to worse.
More concrete = Less exposed Earth for water to seep in when it rains. This depletes our groundwater. Enter, rainwater harvesting.
Rainwater harvesting means collecting rainwater from rooftops and carrying it down to where it can be stored for later domestic and agricultural use. Not only does this make water available for a not-so-rainy day, but it’s environmentally friendly too.
Civic authorities in several Indian cities are making rainwater harvesting compulsory for most buildings, malls, etc. And to make sure this happens, they’re restricting the amount of water and sewage connections to those buildings which do not practice rainwater harvesting.
Since most of our farms opt for flood irrigation, agriculture is one of the biggest culprits of water overuse. This method increases soil salinity and believe it or not, it also pollutes groundwater! On the other hand, micro-irrigation systems reduce water intake and bring down the cost of production. Point is, the Government should ban flood irrigation entirely.
It all starts and ends with farmers. If farmers were taught to practice sustainable farming, drip irrigation, crop rotation, maintaining soil quality and so on, several problems would become non-problems.
Water-resistant > Water-intensive crops
Crops like sugarcane and rice literally SUCK UP gallons of water. Yet they are favoured. Instead, state governments like Maharashtra should take a hint from the Tamil Nadu Government, who had asked farmers to shift to water-resistant crops like millets and pulses (alternatives to rice) when they were facing severe water shortages and droughts.