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Last updated date: 14th Jun 2024
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Water occupies about 71% of the earth's surface. 97% of the water on earth is found in the oceans (too salty for drinking, crop cultivation, and most industrial purposes except refrigeration). Only 3% of the earth's water is fresh.

Complete answer:
Water stress is a situation in which the consumption of water exceeds the amount available over a certain time or in which the poor quality of the water available limits its use. Thus, water stress occurs as the deterioration of freshwater occurs in terms of quality and quantity.
The availability of water for use depends on the number of people who rely on it. Water stress is a common phenomenon in areas where there is a large population per area, such as urban areas. Ex: Indus plains face more water stress than coastal plains due to increased population density.

Some agricultural areas utilise more water leading to shortages. Such regions vary in terms of water stress as compared to regions that produce water-efficient crops. Ex: Sugarcane belts in UP are water-stressed due to the capacity of the crop to draw water.
Irregular rainfall, river pollution due to heavy development activities, insufficient farming practises, over-dependence on groundwater and lack of conservation programs are leading to severe scarcity of drinking water in many areas. Example: the recent water crisis in Chennai.

Increasing sea levels and over-exploitation of groundwater are contributing to the ingress of saltwater in aquifers, resulting in water stress.

The water shortage deserves greater action. Long-term solutions are ideal to deal with the problems. Changes in water distribution techniques are the key. Training is essential in addressing the water crisis. Indeed in order to cope with potential water scarcity, it is important to fundamentally change all forms of consumption.