What the Anandpur Sahib resolution warned has come true. Satellite imagery from Nasa are able to detect changes in the Earth’s gravity field brought about by changes in the way water is distributed, including in groundwater storage.
Nowhere on Earth are groundwater declines greater than in northern India; Nasa found that large-scale irrigation caused 108 cubic km of groundwater loss in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi between 2002 and 2008. The study’s lead, Matt Rodell, observed that “the region has become dependent on irrigation to maximise agricultural productivity. If measures are not taken to ensure sustainable groundwater usage, the consequences for the 114 million residents of the region may include a collapse of agricultural output and severe shortages of potable water”.
In July 2012, roughly half of India’s population – about 670 million people or 10% of the world’s population – temporarily lost power following a massive grid failure. Some experts laid the blame on the severe drought affecting northern India. Low rainfall restricted the amount of power delivered by hydroelectric dams, and farmers used more power than usual to run water pumps to irrigate their crops.
(Courtesy: The Guardian)