Kochi: India has the maximum number of people — 63 million — living in rural areas without access to clean water, according to a new global report released to mark World Water Day on Wednesday. This is almost the population of the United Kingdom, said “Wild Water”, a report on the state of the world’s water.
Lack of government planning, competing demands, rising population and water-draining agricultural practices are all placing increasing strain on water, said the WaterAid’s report.
Without access to clean water, 63 million people are living in rural areas in India. Diseases such as cholera, blinding trachoma and others are expected to become more common and malnutrition more prevalent, it said.
Rural communities dependent on farming to make a living will struggle to grow food and feed livestock amid soaring temperatures, and women — typically responsible for collecting water — may have to walk even greater distances during prolonged dry seasons, the report forewarned.
As per India’s official Ground Water Resources Assessment, more than one-sixth groundwater supply is currently overused.
“Droughts have become almost a way of life in Bundelkhand (North-Central India). Here, three consecutive droughts have pushed millions of people into a vicious cycle of hunger and poverty,” it said....