Water security and food security are often the subject of my writing, and the emerging water crisis worries me. Check this out – https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/40-of-indians-will-have-no-access-to-drinking-water-by-2030-niti-aayog-118062500074_1.html
Everybody understands that the solution to the water crisis is to store rainwater, for direct use, and also as the way to recharge ground water aquifers.
The easiest way to do it is to dig a pond along the natural water runways that enables excess water from rainfall to run off into rivers and streams. This is called a “check dam” which fills up the natural ground depression (or the dug up pond) with water.
To have ponds is not new and our people have done this for millenia, as evidenced by ponds (often attached to temples) in every village.
However, reviving those temple ponds will not solve the problem. Our water needs today are far more than those ponds can serve.
The government has a large national program for this since 2009 called The Integrated Watershed Management Program. This is now a part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. However, the watershed development growth under this program is too slow, government controlled, and routine maintenance/desilting/dredging is not happening properly at a lot of checkdams.
So then, the problem boils down to –
1. How do we rapidly create a few million ponds all over the country?
2. How do we maintain these ponds which require annual dredging?
3. How do we do all this without creating massive government machinery (people)?
I think an easy and attractive solution is to create millions of micro entrepreneurs. They would get collateral free financing and subsidies to create the ponds, as well as covers to reduce evaporation losses. They can use the water for high value economic activity like rearing/breeding aquatic animals, operating green houses attached to the ponds, or water purification units for retailing drinking water, etc.