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    Shepard drinks water on the dry bed of Manjara Dam, which supplies water to Latur and nearby villages in Marathwada region, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. (File)

    200,000 Reportedly Die Every Year as India Faces Worst-Ever Water Crisis

    © AP Photo / Manish Swarup
    Asia & Pacific
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    Critical groundwater resources – which account for 40% of India's water supply – are being depleted at unsustainable rates, says a report of India’s policy think tank.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — A comprehensive report published by the NITI Aayog, the Indian government's main policy think tank, indicates that at least two hundred thousand Indians die every year due to inadequate access to potable water. According to the new projections, the crisis is going to continue to worsen until 2030, leading to an eventual 6% loss in the country's national income.

    READ MORE: Global Shortage of Key Resource Could Doom Key Asian Infrastructure Projects

    "India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 200,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water," says NITI Aayog.

    NITI Aayog has developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of the growing crisis.

    The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive scorecard for identifying, targeting, and solving problems in the water sector across the country. 

    As per the report, the situation is worse in the northern part of the country, with 21 major cities expected to run out of groundwater as soon as 2020, affecting around 100 million people. 

    The report also highlights the grave problem in rural India, wherein around 70% of country's population, approximately 800 million people, reside. Currently, only half of the rural population has access to safely-managed water, which is far behind China and Bangladesh, resulting in among of the highest disease burdens due to water-borne diseases in the developing world.

    READ MORE: Scholars Mull Project to Divert Water from Tibet to Arid Xinjiang

    NITI Aayog has termed this as "one of the largest service delivery challenges in the world in terms of scale."

    While urban water access is high on average, significant gaps remain across the country, and wastewater treatment remains stuck at the national average of approximately 33%.

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    Tags:
    Environment, Water Conservation, policy experts, stress, water shortage, deaths, think tank, NITI Aayog, India
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