The Ganga river basin could see crop failures rise three-fold and drinking water shortage go up by as much as 39% in some States
between now and 2040, as per an assessment commissioned by the World Bank and submitted to the Central Water Commission.
If the situation prevails the same then Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are likely to see a deficit in irrigation
water of 28%, 10%, 10% and 15% respectively in 2040 as compared to the current levels. Madhya Pradesh would see a 39%, Delhi 22%
and Uttar Pradesh a 25% deficit in drinking water during the same period.
The basin provides over a third of India’s available surface water and contributes more than half the national water use, of which 90% is for irrigation. The volume of extracted groundwater is expected to more than double, leading to an increase in the critical blocks. Low flow values in the rivers are predicted to decline compared to present levels. Water quality and environmental flow conditions already critical will deteriorate further.
The report is based on a modelling study that simulates river flow, water quality and groundwater levels in the different States and regions within
the Ganga river basin. To extrapolate, the model considered land use, infrastructure, population, industry and agriculture settings as well as the precipitation and temperature settings. The aim of the report was to strengthen the capacity for strategic basin planning, develop a set of scenarios for the development of the Ganga basin and build a strong and accessible knowledge base.