Indian cities are running out of water


(Jouni Rajala, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content

India is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history, with soaring temperatures threatening crops, livestock and people. Thousands of villagers have abandoned their homes in a desperate search for water as the crisis has left village pumps and wells dry.

The drought has also depleted four reservoirs that supply the country’s sixth largest city, Chennai, with a population of more than four million. Residents are having to queue for water that’s brought into the city in trucks, while businesses are suffering.

As of 10 June, around 44% of the country was affected by various degrees of drought, due to a heatwave that has seen Delhi record its highest ever June temperature of 48℃. While south of the capital, the Rajasthan city of Churu saw highs of more than 50℃, making it one of the hottest places on Earth.

Around 600 million people are dealing with high-to-extreme water shortages, according to a 2018 report by NITI Aayog, a policy think tank for the Indian government.

Forced to flee

Many wealthy Indians retreat to the usually cool hills of Himachal Pradesh to avoid the summer heat, but even in this summer retreat temperatures have reached nearly 45℃.

One of the worst affected regions surrounds the town of Beed, in the western state of Maharashtra. Here, villages lay deserted as drinking water has run out and there is no water to wash clothes and dishes or flush toilets, forcing residents to flee.

Tanks arrive every few days with emergency supplies, but there are not enough to go round.

Prolonged extreme heat has devastated the crops that form the backbone of local agricultural economies. Helpless farmers have little option but to leave maise, soya, sweet limes, and ground nuts withering in the fields.

And livestock fare little better, with goats and sheep starving from lack of food and water.

For those who can afford to pay for water that’s trucked in daily, there is some respite. But this water is taken from the bottom of muddy dams and lakes, which is often contaminated and can cause gastrointestinal diseases.

Image: NITI Aayog

Water shortage

Villagers look to the monsoon rains to end the drought, but the rains are late this year. Some years they don’t arrive at all, or bring less rainfall than expected.

By 2030, it’s predicted that 40% of the population will have no access to drinking water – and 21 cities, including Chennai and New Delhi, will run out of groundwater, impacting 100 million people, according to NITI Aayog.

Climate change is altering global weather patterns, with devastating consequences for some subsistence farmers, whose livelihoods depend on successfully harvesting crops. Rising temperatures increase the severity and frequency of droughts, as well as other extreme weather events like floods, tropical cyclones and dust storms.

Image: NASA

Human activity has warmed the world by about 1.1℃ since pre-industrial times, with the past five years having been the warmest ever recorded.

Urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperatures well below the 2℃ target set by the Paris Agreement, which would help the plight of India’s farmers and population as a whole.

While the world finds ways of addressing the global threat of climate change, for many in India, droughts, floods and violent storms remain everyday risks.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN launches ‘South-South Galaxy’ knowledge-sharing platform in Buenos Aires

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

Commission presents review of EU economic governance and launches debate on its future

How the technology behind deepfakes can benefit all of society

UN highlights need to solve growing burden of forcibly displaced Africans

MEPs call on EU countries to end precarious employment practices

Here are the biggest cybercrime trends of 2019

‘Laser-sharp focus’ needed to achieve Global Goals by 2030, UN political forum told

Senior UN children’s advocate says they ‘should never be targeted by violence’

Mobility in 2020: a female perspective

Industrial producer prices on free fall and stagnant output

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

Nearly 3 billion people around the globe under COVID-19 lockdowns – Today’s coronavirus updates

Security Union: Commission receives mandate to start negotiating international rules for obtaining electronic evidence

EU ready to relinquish its internal tax havens

OECD welcomes foreign bribery enforcement efforts and urges Colombia to mobilise key government and law enforcement agencies in the fight against foreign bribery

We dream of being a part of the European family, says FYROM PM

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

Dozens of children at risk as clashes in Hudaydah near hospital – UNICEF

MWC 2016 LIVE: Getty chief says one in four new images from phones

Ukraine: Is there a political force able to undo the division?

The global liberal order is in trouble – can it be salvaged, or will it be replaced?

International Criminal Court acquits former president Gbagbo of war crimes in Côte d’Ivoire

UN chief welcomes agreement by rival leaders in South Sudan, as a step towards ‘inclusive and implementable’ peace

Medical education and violence against women: a gap in women’s rights

EU Budget 2019: no deal before the end of the conciliation period

Break taboo around menstruation, act to end ‘disempowering’ discrimination, say UN experts

European Commission and International Monetary Fund strengthen cooperation to support sustainable development

COVID-19: Member states need to harmonise health assessments and measures

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

Cities are easy prey for cybercriminals. Here’s how they can fight back

Bosses perform better when they are appreciated by their staff, according to a new study

US-North Korea summit ‘an important milestone’ towards denuclearization, says Guterres

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

From ‘dead on the inside’ to ‘truly alive’: Survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda recounts her story as UN marks 25th anniversary

Disintegrating Tories will void May’s pledge for Brexit deal in seven weeks

The EU Consumer Policy on the Digital Market: A Behavioral Economics View

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

Stop wars disguised as peace missions

US-China trade war is a ‘lose-lose’ situation for them and the world, warn UN economists

This Central Asian lake is a stark reminder of the impact we have on the planet

The priority for workplaces in the new normal? Wellbeing

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

Here are 10 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspirational quotes

The EU threatens to occupy Libya militarily; is another colonial war brewing?

FROM THE FIELD: Murals help heal wounds of bloody conflict in Guatemala

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: A European patent system can help European businesses lead industrial research and innovation on a global scale

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

Spain locks down, Denmark shuts borders – today’s COVID-19 updates and expert analysis

38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

With security improving in DR Congo’s Kasai, thousands of refugees head home from Angola

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

Here are seven steps the insurance industry in the ASEAN region can take to navigate disruption

New UN rights chief pledges to push back on ‘centuries of prejudice and discrimination’

Renovation Wave: doubling the renovation rate to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty

President von der Leyen’s State of the Union Address: charting the course out of the coronavirus crisis and into the future

5 ways you can protect insects if you live in a city

This is what emerging technologies mean for the future of infrastructure

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s