Hundreds of millions at risk from India's water crisis.
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Over 100 million people in India are suffering from a nationwide water crisis, with 21 major cities expected to run out of groundwater next year.
By the 1st of July, India's monsoon season should be in full swing, reliving the country of the acute water crisis. However, it is running weeks late amid a heatwave that has already killed more than 130 people this summer. Large cities in the world's second most populous country are struggling to survive off the limited fresh water supplies.
40% of the country's water supply comes from groundwater supplies which have been steadily depleting. Other main water sources have also been running dry including almost two thirds of India's reservoirs. Hundreds of thousands of residents wait in line each day to collect water from government water tankers, with schools and hospitals struggling. People are forced to wash utensils in dirty water, saving their minimal fresh water resources for drinking and cooking.
As India's population rapidly grew, large cities formed with insufficient city planning and infrastructure. Demand for water is expected to reach twice the national supply by 2030 placing hundreds of millions of lives in danger.
Since 2000, average temperatures in India have risen 2°C, average monsoon rainfall has fallen dramatically and the population has increased 30%. India is expected to pass China as the most populated country by 2030 putting added pressure on the water crisis. As clean water runs dry, people will have no choice but to rely on unsafe water. Disease and illness will run rampant causing more deaths and a higher infant mortality rate. The wealth divide may also deepen further as more people compete for fewer resources, and food and water prices go up.
Experts say the country has 5 years to make changes. City infrastructure for water management, waste water treatment and water recycling systems are in dire need.
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