Making Every Drop Count
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'Making every drop count' narrates the story of India's most precious and overstressed resource: water! The book describes trends with regard to the resource, namely physical depletion, deterioration of water quality, and inadequate access to safe water and sanitation; the implications of these trends on the quality of human life; and policy and institutional failures that have contributed to these trends. The book also reviews some recent initiatives and identifies areas where further action will be necessary. Groundwater depletion in India's agriculturally important states threatens the sustainability of the Green Revolution and also has important equity implications: it places the resource out of reach of small and marginal farmers. The resulting higher costs of extraction lower the profitability of agriculture. A number of management challenges confront the operation of surface irrigation schemes: the widening gap between irrigation potential created and used, inequity in water distribution across head and tail reaches, waterlogging, and salinity. While many drinking-water schemes have been launched, they leave much to be desired, in terms of their effectiveness as solutions to problems of poor access. In the urban centres, the poor availability of water supplies means that the gap between demand and supply has to be met from groundwater aquifers, aggravating further the strain on this precious resource. Water contamination harms the human health and productivity. This book will be useful to people from all walks of life -- students, staff of NGOs, academics, planners, and policy-makers -- who are concerned with the state of this precious resource.