Photo: HT
Photo: HT

India’s escalating water crisis

On World Water Day, Mint looks back at a four-part series first published in May 2015, to gauge aspects of its continuing water crisis

Two drought years in a row have sharpened the focus on perilous water resources in the country, but India’s water crisis has been in the making for a long time. In this four-part series published in May 2015, Mint looked at all aspects of the water crisis from tracing its history to future projections.

Part I: The rising pressures on India’s water resources

The rapid growth of population and its growing needs has meant that per capita availability of fresh water has declined sharply from 3,000 cubic metres to 1,123 cubic metres over the past 50 years. The global average is 6,000 cubic metres. As water demand is expected to rise further, the pace of supply is expected to fall further. Read here

Part II: India’s groundwater crisis

Depleting groundwater levels the biggest threat to rural livelihoods and food security. There’s been a 6 percentage point dip in share of groundwater wells within 10 metres below the ground. This depth is the threshold beyond which farmers have to start using deep-water equipment, which adds to their hardship. Read more here

Part III: The long walk to water in rural India

Despite improvements over the past few years, accessing clean water is a big challenge in rural India. According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) estimates, 14% of the households reported shortage of drinking water at some point during the year. Read here

Part IV: The dry taps of urban India

Mispricing of water has meant that large parts of Indian cities do not have access to regular water supply. Two of India’s 5 biggest cities are unable to meet the recommended quantities of water supply. Most of the water goes to privileged classes. Read here

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