A girl drinks water from a faucet inside a temporary suburban camp. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Suffering Worst Water Crisis In History: NITI Aayog 

India is suffering from ‘the worst water crisis’ in its history with about 60 crore people facing high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people dying every year due to inadequate access to safe water, NITI Aayog said in a report.

The report, titled ‘Composite Water Management Index’ released by Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari, further said the crisis is only going to get worse.

“By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6 percent loss in the country’s GDP,” the report noted.

Citing data by independent agencies, the report pointed out that with nearly 70 percent of water being contaminated, India is placed at 120th among 122 countries in the water quality index.

“Currently, 60 crore Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water,” NITI Aayog said in the report. It stressed that there is an imminent need to deepen understanding of water resources and usage.

Citing data by agencies like Dalburg Analysis, FAO and UNICEF, the report said 40 percent of population will have no access to drinking water by 2030 and 21 cities, including New Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 10 crore people.

Also read: Madhya Pradesh Stares At Acute Water Shortage

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg 
A woman carries a water container on her head filled from public drums at a village in Beed district, Maharashtra.

NITI Aayog has ranked the states through first of its kind index on the composite water management, comprising nine broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of ground water, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance.

Meanwhile, Gujarat has topped the NITI Aayog's composite water management index, while tribal state Jharkhand was adjudged as the worst performer.

Also read: China Can Give India Lessons On Curbing Water Pollution, Says UN Environment Head Erik Solheim