The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has predicted that India may face severe water crisis by 2050.
Here is why the UNESCO’s prediction might turn into reality and is a wake-up call for us:
1. As per the UNESCO report ahead of World Water Day on March 22, water crisis will intensify across India by 2050.
2. It also states that the manner in which water scarcity is gaping wide in central India, many parts will battle 40% withdrawal of the renewable surface water resources.
3. The report says ground water resources in north India is already stressed and will intensify further in future.
4. According to UNESCO, the quality of water in river basins across south and central India will decline so much by 2050 that it will bring high levels of risks to Indians.
5. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), after going through the data provided by state pollution control boards based on samples collected between 2015-16, has marked 275 rivers across 29 Indian states as polluted.
6. The contamination has gone further down from surface water to groundwater resources, which contain heavy metallic contamination, as well as contamination due to untreated sewage disposal.
7. The CPCB has marked 49 rivers cross Maharashtra, including Mithi, Godavari, Bhima, Krishna, Ulhas, Tapi, Kundalika, Panchganga, Mula-Mutha, Pelhar, Penganga and Vaitarna, as polluted.
8. Assam has 28 “polluted” rivers, Madhya Pradesh 21, Gujarat 20, and West Bengal 17.
9. Water has significantly reduced in Godavari, the Cauvery and the Krishna in South India, says the CPCB.
10. TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) highlights severe depletion of groundwater in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi so much so that it is carrying the risk of salinity.
11. The National Institute of Hydrology found that India’s utilisable per capita water availability was just 938 cubic metres in 2010, which makes the autonomous body predict that it will drop to 814 cubic metres by 2025.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.