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Water & Environment


India constitutes 16 % of the world’s population, but the country has only 4 % of the world’s freshwater resources. With the changing weather patterns and recurring droughts, India is water stressed. Freshwater sources fulfil 85% of India’s water demand, and it remains the world’s largest consumer of groundwater, consuming 124% more groundwater than China or the US.

Water demand is projected to exceed supply by 50% by 2030 and water shortage could result in a 6% loss in GDP by 2050 according to the World Bank. 

Not unaware of the complex situation that India confronts with regards to water, the Indian government has displayed a strong commitment towards ensuring water security for its citizens. For instance, in five years to 2020-21 budget, the government allocated an annual average of $3.8 billion, or 1.1% of the budget for water and allied sectors. 

Focus areas

Drinking Water and Non-Revenue Water (NRW)

Less than 50% of the population in India has access to safely managed drinking water. Access to safe drinking water has been a serious challenge for India, both in rural and urban areas, while lack of access to safe drinking water has become a huge burden on the economy and public health of the country. However, India has improved significantly in the past few years in access to safe drinking water to urban and rural populations. Under the government’s flagship Jal Jeevan Mission ($50 billion project) 44% of the total rural households have been provided with piped water connections till the end of year 2021.

The average Non-revenue water in India is about 25-50%.

Waste Water

India generates a lot of waste water but there is not enough capacity to treat it. Reliable estimates put India’s generation of waste water per day at 62 billion litres (including 500 million litres of industrial waste water) while the available treatment capacity is only a miniscule 23 million litres. Approximately only 37 % of the waste water gets treated in India. Moreover, 72,368 million litres per day of sewage is generated from urban areas in the country, against which 1469 nos. Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) of 31,841 million litres per day treatment capacity are available.

Ground Water

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is implementing National Aquifer Mapping and Management program (NAQUIM), which envisages mapping of aquifers (water bearing formations), their characterization and development of Aquifer Management Plans to facilitate sustainable management of Ground Water Resources.

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