India accounts for one-fourth of the total groundwater extracted globally, more than that of China and US combined and cities and villages in the northern and central parts of India are among regions facing a water crisis, says an analysis by WaterAid.
A total of 163 million people in India have no access to clean water close to home, or 15% of all rural residents and seven per cent of all urban residents, says the study, released on the occasion of world environment day today.
Severe groundwater depletion in north and central India, already home to some of the poorest communities, further threatens their access to water, it said.
“The country accounts for one-fourth of the total groundwater extracted globally, more than the water extracted by China and the United States combined. Severe groundwater depletion in the north and central India, already home to some of the poorest communities, further threatens their access to water,” it says.
Because of climate change, India has experienced extreme weather events in the past few years – excessive rainfall, increased incidence of floods and drought.
Every year, lack of access to clean water adversely affects the quality of life, particularly of the poorest, further setting them back, said WaterAid.
The most marginalised people who have contributed least to climate change are impacted the most, it says.
As per UNICEF-WHO joint monitoring programme, clean water refers to water from an improved source, collected within a 30-minute round trip.
The study said that besides these cities and villages in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, southern Madagascar and southern Mozambique are facing acute water scarcity threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions.