India may be reaching a crisis-level situation in regards to water quality and access. While India’s population continues to grow, access to water continues to dwindle. The country’s future may be greatly affected by the limited water for households and agriculture.
Over 20 percent of the country’s diseases can be traced back to the poor water quality in India. To make matters worse, less than 35 percent of the entire population of India has access to traditional sanitation, further exacerbating the spread of diseases in the country.
Most cities in India produce almost 40,000 million liters of sewage per day, the majority of which is dumped into rivers which feeds into groundwater that becomes used for agriculture or citizens’ homes. In fact, less than 20 percent of the sewage in India is properly treated.
There are almost 76 million people in India who are forced to spend 20 percent of their income on water, and often are forced to use the contaminated water instead, according to Water Aid. Although the groundwater in India is of poor quality, many rural residents have no choice but to use it for daily needs. However, the overall water availability in India is soon running dry.
The water crisis in India can partially be attributed to government corruption and lack of planning, as well as increased corporate privatization, which drives up the cost of clean water. If India is unable to control the water crisis, scarcity is predicted to significantly worsen by the year 2050 and become the main cause of political conflict.
Though many environmentalists are opposed, building dams in India could improve the issue with water quality and scarcity in India. Dams would collect water during the rainy season and provide during the dry season, but building storage dams would potentially submerge forests, disturb habitats, and displace tribal communities.
In order to improve water quality in India, the country needs to place more sewage treatment plants in more cities and towns. Overall, there are only 160 towns with sewage treatment plants out of the 8,000 towns total. As long as factories continue to dump untreated sewage into rivers that run into groundwater, the water quality in India has little chance of improvement.
– Amanda Panella
Photo: Global Moms Challenge