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Giving Compass' Take:
• A recent report by the National Institute for Transforming India presents an alarming picture of India’s looming water crisis and the need to find equity.
• How can donors work with global development organizations to address clean water issues?
The study aggregated a Composite Water Management Index, which measured both water outcomes (groundwater sustainability and rural drinking water coverage) and management (efficiency measures and regulations). The report found that most states scored below 50 per cent on the index and that 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020. If current trends continue, in 20 years an estimated 60 per cent of all India’s aquifers will be at critical or over-exploited levels. India could experience a drop of 6 per cent in its GDP due to water scarcity alone.
These statistics are alarming, but they do not reveal the full picture. If rain every year recharges aquifers, what does ‘running out of groundwater’ mean? Here is one way to understand this: imagine a person who inherits a trust fund when he turns 18 but also earns a small steady income as an artist. For the first few years, the wealthy artist can live well beyond his income by dipping into the trust fund. But once it is gone, he must live off whatever he earns. Likewise, once an aquifer gets depleted, the population must learn to live within the rainfall received. There is no buffer left.
Read the full article about water equity in India by Dr. Veena Srinivasan at India Development Review.