21 Indian Cities Including Hyderabad, Chennai & Shimla Will Run Out Of Water By 2030

Severe water crisis has already hit many cities and villages in India. While people in villages have to walk miles to fetch water, those in metropolitan cities stand in queues waiting for their turn to score a bucket of water. Such is the pitiful condition of drought in our country.

Ratnesh, an IT professional, left his high paying job to move out of Bengaluru because he was tired of the water crisis. Bengaluru the IT hub of our country is among the top cities facing water scarcity. Now, traffic isn’t the only thing that is bothering the people in the city, water crisis has added to their misery.

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“Most of the times, there would be no water coming from the tap. Water used to come in private tankers and to drink water, we had to depend completely on bottled water supply. I would always feel sick and unhealthy and just wanted to return back home. Our Delhi is not better but at least we have water supply daily,” he said.

His family, however, thinks quitting a job over water scarcity is ‘flimsy’ and an overreaction but this is indeed a matter of concern for the city.

Currently, Bengaluru’s population is around 0.5 million and it’s expected that the city will be home to 2 million IT professionals by 2020. But the groundwater level of the city has already reached zero in many parts, reports Business World.

Moreover, a major part of Bengaluru depends on private water tankers for water. This certainly makes us wonder how Bengaluru, which depends on groundwater for 40 percent of its water supply, will meet the future water needs!

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Experts say that many large cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore, Vijayawada, Amravati, Solapur, Shimla, Kochi are gradually moving towards a chronic water crisis. The major reasons for pitiful conditions of water in the country mainly include climate change, early summer, deficit rain-fall, depleting water level, rising population and lack of water management policy.

According to a World Bank report, around 21 cities in India will reach zero groundwater level by 2020. “The over-exploitation of groundwater, unplanned construction, mindless destruction of the environment in the name of development and no water management plan on the part of government has resulted in the current situation. The government must take urgent steps to prevent misuse of water resources”, said Rajendra Singh, an expert on water management.

Talking about the facts, after facing a deadly drought in Latur, the groundwater level in many parts of Maharashtra is still depleting. Its total water storage has gone down to 30 percent and in many districts.

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A report by the World Resources Institute, says, “54 percent of India’s total area is under high to extremely high water stress and groundwater levels are declining in 54 percent of wells across India. The study further says that water demand in India will reach 1.5 trillion cubic meters in 2030 while India’s current water supply is only 740 billion cubic meters.”

Naina Lal Kidwai, chair, FICCI Sustainability Council and Water Mission, and chair, India Sanitation Coalition says, “So far as water is concerned, Indian cities are moving towards a serious water crisis. We are over-relying on groundwater which is overexploited. Even by very conservative estimation, 40 per cent people in India may not have water to drink by 2030. The clock is already ticking and given the climate change, the crisis can come earlier than anticipated if we do not take proactive measures now”.

India’s official Ground Water Resources Assessment states that more than one-sixth of India’s groundwater is currently overused. This is the reason why cities are turning to temporary measures like water imports.

According to the World Bank’s study, water scarcity will cost India 6 percent of its GDP if the country continues to mismanage water resources by 2050. With health, agriculture, income and property being the majorly affected sectors.

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“Water scarcity can stall projects. In cities such as Solapur, which was also selected as a Smart City, most projects have been stalled due to scarcity of water. Companies are not showing interest to invest in these districts and water scarcity is a crucial factor for this,” said one of the officials in the ministry for water supply and sanitation in the government of Maharashtra.

Apart from crisis, water pollution is another important concern. As per the latest World Bank report, 21 per cent of communicable diseases in India is related to unsafe water. In India, diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily.

As per the latest World Bank report, 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water. In India, diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily.

“What happened in Latur is already a warning note to the policymakers. The government needs to look for long-term and sustainable solutions. There is no instant solution to the water crisis, no matter how much money the government throws at it,” adds Rajendran.

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“Integrated water development plans would have gone a long way in avoiding the crisis we see today, said Pradeep Purandare, a retired professor at the Water and Land Management Institute. There is no coordination in various departments which makes the case worse,” he added.

“Effective planning, a well- planned strategy and efficient water management can go a long way in improving water supply. Taking the case of Nagpur, as much as 30 percent of water was lost during transportation from the bulk source to the distribution network. Nagpur replaced canals with pipes and engaged with private players. The solutions have worked out well for the city,” said Isher J Ahluwalia, leading economist and Chairman, ICRIER says.

Apart from the efforts that the government is taking, it’s high time we start contributing our bit towards saving water at an individual level. Let’s save water and save our country from dire drought!

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