Most metropolitan cities in India are under the threat of running out of clean water in the next five to 10 years. According to a report by United Nations, more than 1.6 billion people in the world lack basic access to water. India is developing at breakneck speed, thus giving rise to population as well as urbanization. This means we may have to struggle with a major water deficit in the near future if we don’t apply the brakes now, stop and think about how to avert it.
The first thing to do in order to avert a disaster is go to its root cause: How is it happening in the first place? What are the issues urban India is facing pertaining water shortage, and what challenges lie in the way of solving the issue?
Limited Water Sources
According to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, 48 per cent of the Indian urban water supply comes from ground water. While it is being used/misused in varying proportions at length, the levels are reducing in most cities, which is worrisome. Think about it: Only a city like Mumbai needs 3,750 million litres of water per day (MLD), while as per the population, it needs 4,500 MLD. Once primary sources like lakes, dams and rivers are consumed, we reach for the ground water. What next? The pressure on water sources is enormous, which is a huge challenge.
Loss of Water
As if lack of access wasn’t enough, a huge amount of water is lost before it reaches the people. Be it leakage, faulty meters and, in some cases, water thefts and pilferage, unjust distribution of water is something that adds to the chaos. According to recent studies, in across 42 Indian cities, only 5 per cent clean piped water reaches its slums, and in a city like Mumbai, around 27 per cent water is lost. This needs to stop.
Contamination of Water
Contaminated water is the reason for hundreds and thousands of deaths in the country every year. Be it water marred by feces or industrial waste, urban India is becoming vulnerable to diseases and suffering. About four lakh children are losing their lives to diarrhea every year.
Urban water management need to take into account a variety of factors: management, distribution, recycling, treatment, harvesting and the implementation of alternative methods to procure more water. What we as citizens need to do is help the municipal authorities from our end. We can do that by becoming aware of these issues and by stepping forward to help each other out.
Take inspiration from the efforts being made through Harpic-News18 Mission Paani initiative. The platform has onboard various distinguished politicians, celebrities and people of importance and is trying to create awareness around the water crisis. Why can’t we lend a hand and help too? After all, we are all in this together, be it rural or urban areas. Let’s fight it together too!