Population in India has been increasing continuously. Population of the country has increased about three times since independence. Due to this increase in population demand for water has increased in all the spheres.
Demand for water has increased comparatively more for drinking, irrigation and industries. On the other hand, per capita annual availability of water has been decreasing continuously.
In 1951 per capita annual availability of water was 5177 cubic metre per person which has decreased to 1829 cubic metre per person annually in 2001. In the coming years by 2025 per capita availability of water is expected to become 1342 cubic metres annually. The water crisis arises when the per capita availability of water falls 1000 cubic metres annually. Today many countries have started facing the water crisis. They have to import water.
There are various uses of water. We need water for drinking, domestic use, irrigation, industries, public health, cleanliness and for flushing or draining sewage or human waste. Water is continuously needed for generation of hydro-electricity. You can not imagine fishing, forestry and water sports without great amount of water. In this way, water is essential for all kinds of developmental work. Its use is essential in all spheres of life. Due to rapid growth of urban population, the demand for water in urban areas has increased tremendously.
India is an agricultural country. Hence plenty of water is needed for irrigation. 536 billion cubic metre water was used for irrigation in the year 2000. It is 81 percent of the total water used. The remaining percentage of water was used for domestic, industrial and other purposes.
There has been a rapid increase in the irrigated area in India since independence. Total irrigated areas in 1999-2000 was 8.47 crore hectare. The maximum capacity of the use of water for irrigation in India is 11.35 crore hectare metre. But about three-fourth water of this capacity is being used.
The demand for irrigation in India has been increasing continuously. The reasons for the increasing demand of irrigation are: