The Niti Aayog in a report last week stated that India is suffering from 'the worst water crisis' in its history with about 60 crore people facing high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
"By 2030, the country's water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual six percent loss in the country's GDP," the report noted.
Kasturirangan, a former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said there are countries where agriculture accounts for about 40-50 percent of the total water usage.
"India needs to have an agriculture regime where water requirement comes down from (the current) 80-85 percent to something like 50 percent or less," he told PTI, calling for much more intensive methods of irrigation.
He called for halt to 'indiscriminate exploitation' of ground water. There is "very, very large" depletion of ground water in northern parts of India, if American satellites have to be believed, Kasturirangan said.
"You know what has happened to Punjab and many other states in the process...the economy simply collapsed, that portends the shape of things to come if we are not careful about how we are going to use ground water," he said.
Asked whether India's water crisis is a "scary situation," he said, "We have to work with concept that it's a scary situation, otherwise you will never be serious in this country. It's a scary situation created by us by our actions," Kasturirangan said. Every drop of water has to be saved, properly preserved and managed, he stressed. "We have to develop that culture in this country.
We have been very profligate in the use of water because monsoon has been generous. This country has faced good monsoons over years, and in some of the drought years, we have been compensated beause of better monsoon in the previous year but we should not assume that this will continue in the years to come, so we have to prepare for it," Kasturirangan cautioned.
He also said Karnataka is in the process of forming a policy for water management under a committee headed by Mihir Shah, an expert in the field.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)