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Looming water crisis in India

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    11th Mar, 2020

According to the World Resources Institute's (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, India is among the 17 countries, facing “extremely high” water stress. It has more than three times the population of the other 16 countries in this category combined.

Issue

Context

According to the World Resources Institute's (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, India is among the 17 countries, facing “extremely high” water stress. It has more than three times the population of the other 16 countries in this category combined.

Background:

  • WRI report: WRI's Aqueduct list ranked water stress, drought risk, and riverine flood risk across 189 countries and their sub-national regions, like states and provinces.
  • In the 17 countries facing extremely high water stress, agriculture, industry, and municipalities are drinking up 80 per cent of available surface and groundwater in an average year.
  • India ranked 13 on Aqueduct’s list of “extremely high” water-stressed countries, close to “Day Zero” conditions when the taps run dry. 
  • Northern India faces severe groundwater depletion. 
  • NSS 76th round: The 76th round of NSS data shows that 6% households in the country do not have access to piped water in their house. In rural areas, only 11.3% households have access to piped water. Hand-pumps are the main source of drinking water for 43% of rural households.
    • 42% of people in rural areas have to venture outside of their house every day—from 0.2 km to 1.5 km—to fetch drinking water. This figure is 19% in urban areas.
    • About 73% rural household and 51% of urban households never treat the water before drinking.
  • Composite Water Management Index (CWMI): CWMI 2019 developed by NITI Aayog reports that 16 out of 27 states still score less than 50 points on the index, out of 100. They account for 48% of the population, 40% of agricultural produce and 35% of the economic output of India.
    • NITI Aayog has declared that 21 cities, including Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru, are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.
  • The water crisis in India: India’s water demand may exceed supply two times by 2030. The average all-India per capita water availability is expected to be 1,341 cubic metres by 2025, and touch a low of 1,140 cubic metres by 2050, close to the official water scarcity threshold.
    • India has only 4% of the world’s water and has to provide for 16% of the world’s population
  • Water crisis around the world: Two-thirds of the global population live under water-stressed conditions, and by 2025, about 1.8 billion people are expected to face absolute water scarcity. 
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