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Water-stressed India needs more storage capacity: Gadkari

New Delhi : India's water availability per capita is reducing progressively due to increase in population, Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari has said even as the the Government said that the water storage level in the country's 91 major reservoirs has been falling steadily over the past several weeks.

Gadkari said that India was already suffering water stressed conditions. Recent weekly water storage level data released by the Central Water Commission (CWC) drives home the point.

During the month of February alone, the water storage level in the country has fallen severally. According to CWC, the water storage available in the 91 major reservoirs for the week ended February 1 was 69.887 BCM, which was 43 per cent of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 45 for the week ended January 25.

But, for the week ended March 1, the water storage available had dropped to 57.684 BCM, which is just 36 per cent of total storage capacity of these reservoirs.

The level of water storage in the week ending on March 1 was 89 per cent of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 91 per cent of storage of average of last 10 years, the CWC said.

"India cannot sustain drought beyond one non-Monsoon season due to low per capita storage, and faces acute stress if any year happens to be drought hit," Gadkari said.

The Water Resources Minister, who was answering a question in the Parliament, said India's average annual per capita water may reduce to 1340 cubic meters in 2025 and further drop to 1140 cubic meters in 2030.

In 2001, it was 1820 cubic meters but in 2011, it had fallen to 1545 cubic meters.

A level less than 1700 cubic meters per capita water annually is described in India as a water-stressed condition while a bellow-1000 cubic meters level is termed as water scarcity.

"Due to high temporal and spatial variation of precipitation, the water availability of many region of the country is much below the national average and can be considered as water stressed or water scarce," said Gadkari.

The total capacity of completed dams in the country needed to be raised from 253 billion cubic meter (BCM) to 450 BCM. This was needed to utilise the surface water resources of 690 BCM.

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