The following research paper takes a close look at the topic of India’s water crisis. In particular, the CNN article by Yeung et al. (2019) called “India’s Sixth Biggest City is Almost Entirely Out of Water” was selected for the analysis. A series of other online articles were retrieved in order to present an even more thorough overview of the subject. Based on the information that was studied, India’s situation (water crisis) is indicatively of some more general tendencies that can be observed in the world today.
To begin with Yeung et al. (2019) note that “due to an inability to collect sufficient rain water combined with low groundwater levels, the Tamil Nadu state government has been struggling to provide water to residents.” As a result of this (the reservoirs running dry), water must be brought in trucks. Citizens must stand in line for hours and hours on end, waiting for their share of water. Moreover, Indian people must store water in plastic tanks in their homes, watching carefully how it is used, since the water trucks not come every day, but rathe once per 3-4 days.
This has led numerous hotels/restaurants to close. A hotel owner who is cited in the article stresses that he must pay 86 dollars per day to have a tanker bring water to his hotel (Yeung et al., 2019). The wealthy population has “taken to relying on expensive private water tankers.” Now, it should be noted that Chennai’s population equates to about 4.6 million people. As of today, it is not clear how many people are actually without water in Chennai.
The article stresses that droughts have led to the current water crisis in India. Moreover, in 2019, a fatal nationwide heatwave is what exacerbated the situation (Yeung et al., 2019). The article informs its readers that the water crisis is expected to get worse in the upcoming years. Thus, something must be done inevitably to ensure that the situation does not get out of hand. About 200,000 people die every year in India because of “inadequate supply or water contamination” (Yeung et al., 2019). When it comes down to the numbers, an average Indian household gets only 30-40 liters of water per day (this is data for one of Chennai’s slums).
India has always relied on groundwater for supplying its citizens with drinkable water. However, “decades of drilling into the earth to reach water has led to severe ground water depletion” (Yeung et al., 2019). The water supply depends on the levels of rain; therefore, when rainfall is low, the local population must suffer from a lack of water. The number of “zero groundwater cities” has been rising (Yeung et al., 2019). One should not underestimate the devastating effects of climate change on the water situation in India (Yeung et al., 2019). Moreover, since India is an agricultural nation, about 80 percent of the water is used for irrigating crops; among them, sugar cane and rice that are known for being rather “thirsty” (Yeung et al., 2019).
The article called “Why Chennai’s Water Crisis Should Worry You” (2019) emphasizes that “Chennai is today paying the price for its downright disrespect for waterbodies and water sources.” Over the past decades, numerous water bodies have been lost; canals and water routes disappeared due to housing projects that were promoted by the government. In particular, out of more than 6,000 water bodies (lakes, ponds, reservoirs) only 3,896 remain. Those that survived have substantially decreased in size.
Yet another issue that has contributed to the water crisis is policy paralysis (“Why Chennai’s Water Crisis Should Worry You,” 2019). The IT Corridor employs approximately 320,000 people; crucially, there is no piped water supply and water is thus retrieved from nearby farm villages. It is needless to say that the IT Corridor uses up tremendous amounts of water per day. The article offers a well-constructed conclusion about the water situation in Chennai, stressing the various factors that are making Chennai such as “difficult” spot. Firstly, the city has no perennial river. Second, it underground waters are “too deep and too ‘colored’ or contaminated for use” (“Why Chennai’s Water Crisis Should Worry You,” 2019). There is very little piped water supply and, lastly, most of the water comes in through tankers; it takes approximately one month for the water to reach Indians’ homes.
Another source by Qureshi (2019) brings up a series of specific cases (including interviews) of Indians suffering from the water crisis. One of the city’s residents emphasizes that there was a period when they were not getting any water at all. Such a situation is actually hard to imagine for someone living in a civilized Western country and using piped water on a daily basis. Numerous people fall sick because of a lack of clean drinking water (Qureshi, 2019). The article stresses that the water crisis is a man-made phenomenon. As was already mentioned above, lakes and reservoirs have either dried up or turned into slumps. They “have not been distilled for years” (Qureshi, 2019).
Finally, Matto (2019) explains that reusing wastewater could be a potential solution to the water crisis. Also, the author suggests the use of rainwater for agriculture as a way to alleviate the water crisis. At present, only 8 percent of the annual rainfall in India is captured. Thus, numerous opportunities are being lost for resolving the water crisis. Finally, Matto (2019) emphasizes that numerous stakeholders must take part in resolving the current situation: engineers, government officials, economists, planners, and the people themselves.
- Matto, M. (2019, June 21). India’s water crisis: The clock is ticking. DownToEarth.
- Qureshi, I. (2019, June 22). Chennai water crisis: “We can’t do anything.” BBC News.
- “Why Chennai’s water crisis should worry you.” (2019, June 21). The Economic Times.
- Yeung, J., et al. (2019, June 20). India’s sixth biggest city is almost entirely out of water. CNN.