India’s rivers are undergoing a drastic change. Due to the pressures of population and development, our perennial rivers are becoming seasonal. Many of the smaller rivers have already vanished. Flood as well as drought are becoming increasingly frequent, as rivers turn unruly during the monsoon, and vanish once the rainy season is over.
- 25% of India is turning into desert.
- In 15 years, we may have only half the water we need for our survival.
- The Ganga is one of the most endangered rivers in the world.
- The Godavari was dry along much of its length last year.
- The Kaveri has lost 40% of its flow. Krishna and Narmada have lost around 60%
In every state, perennial rivers are either becoming seasonal or totally going dry. In Kerala – the Bharatpuzha, in Karnataka – the Kabini, in Tamil Nadu – the Kaveri, Palar and Vaigai, in Odisha – the Musal, in Madhya Pradesh – the Kshipra. Many smaller rivers have already vanished.
Most major rivers are the subject of interstate water disputes.
How This Affects You
- Estimates say 65% of our water needs are met by rivers.
- 2 out of 3 major Indian cities already deal with daily water shortage. Many urban residents pay ten times the normal amount for a can of water.
- We consume water not just to drink or for domestic purposes. 80% of water is used to grow our food. Each person’s average water requirement is 1.1 million liters a year.
- Flood, drought and rivers turning seasonal are increasingly leading to crop failure across the country.
- Climate change is expected to cause worse floods and droughts within the next 25-50 years. During the monsoon, rivers will flood. The rest of the year, drought will follow. These trends are already beginning.