The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has called for greater grassroots water conservation efforts amid concerns weak monsoon rains would push millions of drought hit people to the edge and reduce agricultural production in the country.
The prime minister said there was need to create public awareness about water conservation and explore traditional water management methods, in the same way the “Clean India” mission to end open defecation, started in 2014.
“Only 8 per cent of all the rain water in India is conserved,” Modi said in his first monthly radio broadcast after winning re-election in June.
“It’s now time to solve this problem.”
“There is no one formula to deal with the water crisis across the country,” Modi said.
He added that he had written to village chiefs across the country about the need to conserve water earlier this month.
The monsoon season is responsible for around 70 per cent of India’s annual rainfall, and is particularly important for the farm sector since more than half of the country’s arable land is rain-fed.
India received 24 per cent less rainfall than the 50-year average on June 26, data from the India Meteorological Department showed, with scant rains over central and western regions of the country.
The specter of a crisis in 2019 comes after drought in some parts of India in 2018 destroyed crops, ravaged livestock, exhausted reservoirs, leaving some cities and industries with little water.