Till fifty years ago there was no shortage of water in our country but today we are facing acute shortage of water due to drying up of the water sources like rivers, tanks and wells including the bore wells. The water table has gone down and today unless you drill a bore well up to 900 feet deep you are not likely of getting water. In every village of Andhra Pradesh there used to be two to three irrigation tanks, which now have dried up as the tanks are either a) not properly protected, b) there is no sufficient rainfall in the catchments areas of the tanks or c) the inflow channels from catchments areas to the tank are not maintained now. Many rivers have also dried up. The best example is of “Musi” River which was flowing from the middle of the city dividing the city into two, and we all know the fate of this river. Today not even a drop of water is found in this river except the pollutants and discharge from drainage. This great river was in floods in 1908 and hundreds of people were killed due to the floods. Sri Vishweshwariah was invited to study, suggest and take up the work of tame this great river. Sri Vishweshwariah constructed two dams on this river. We can see even today the mark of high flood level (H.F.L.) on the building of Chaderghat Police Station in Hyderabad with the year written as 1908. Drying of the perennial source of drinking water due to the low ground water storage has also become a permanent phenomenal problem all over the country.
The world water crisis is one of the most significant public health issues of our time. Water is involved in all bodily functions: digestion, assimilation, elimination, respiration, and maintaining temperature. In our childhood we never expected that a day will come in our life time when we will have to purchase and drink water at exorbitant rates, but today even in a small village also we will get drinking water bottle or a water sachet at half of the price of pure milk. We can see that about 30% of the house hold use 20 liters mineral water bottles in their homes in urban areas. All the rivers of the country have either dried up or they are highly polluted, the water of which cannot be used for drinking purposes. Rainfall has decreased and it has become erratic. Total rainy days in a year have also decreased. In urban areas, the construction of houses, footpaths and roads has left little exposed earth for water to soak in. In parts of the rural areas of India, flood water quickly flows to the rivers, which then dry up soon after the rains stop. If this water can be held back, it can seep into the ground and recharge the groundwater supply. We have to harvest the rainwater on the roofs of building and, storing it underground for later use. This practice is in vogue since ages in Rajasthan. Not only does this recharging, arrest groundwater depletion, it also raises the declining water table and can help augment water supply. Rainwater harvesting and artificial recharging are becoming very important issues. It is essential to stop the decline in groundwater levels, arrest sea-water ingress, i.e. prevent sea-water from moving landward, and conserve surface water run-off during the rainy season. (Contd…3)