The Indian Water Crisis Deepens Despite Progress
India has provided more than 300 million people with access to clean water in past 15 years, data show. But, it is little reason to cheer as the progress made by India in providing clean water to its citizens notwithstanding, it is still among the nations where it is hard to get water that is fit to consume.
The reports from across the world show the deepening water crisis in the country.
Lack of access to clean water
According to a report by WaterAid, released on World Water Day, of the 844 million people who do not have access to clean water globally, 163 million are in India. Also, the world’s 60 per cent population lives in water-stressed areas. “Uganda, Niger, Mozambique, India and Pakistan are among the countries where the largest number of people cannot get clean water within a half-hour round trip, the report,” titled State of the World's Water 2018: The Water Gap, says.
In November last year, India had set a goal to reach 90 per cent of rural households with piped water by 2022. However, depleting groundwater levels and climate changes might pose major challenges in meeting this target.
However, on the bright side, "India, while still having the most people without clean water, is also near the top of the list for most people reached since 2000 – more than 300 million, or nearly equivalent to the population of the United States," the report adds says.
According to the WaterAid report, India is one of the world's most-improved nations for reaching the most people with clean water, but, faces challenges with falling groundwater levels, drought, demand from agriculture and industry, pollution and poor water resource management.
Another study by the developers of a new satellite early warning system says that the shrinking reservoirs in many countries, including India, could be a cause of water taps running completely dry, causing the next "day zero" water crisis.
Difficult times ahead for Bengaluru
The state of affairs in India’s information capital is, however, getting worse.
According to Centre for Science and Environment-backed Down To Earth magazine, Bengaluru is among the 10 cities in the world that might be on the verge of an imminent acute water crisis, similar to the one faced by South Africa’s Cape Town where all the “taps may start running dry by June-July this year”.
"The number of waterbodies in Bengaluru has reduced by 79 per cent due to unplanned urbanisation and encroachment – while built-up area has increased from eight per cent in 1973 to 77 per cent now," an article in the magazine reads.
Amid growing population (Bengaluru's population might reach 20.3 million by 2031), the water table in the city has shrunk from 10-12 million to 76-91 million in only two decades while the number of extraction wells has gone up from 5,000 to 0.45 million in 30 years, says the article.
With inputs from Housing News