Urban India needs planning to mitigate impending water crisis: Amitabh Kant

New Delhi:- In view of the increasing urbanisation, India needs to plan better for water availability, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said.

About 500 million Indians are set to live in cities in the next five decades, where do we get water for them, Kant said.

“In view of the rapid urbanization, a major challenge before us is ensuring water for all. We need to find new ways of planning for urbanization,” he said.

India is giving a big push to urbanization with 100 Smart Cities and many more smaller places set to urbanize rapidly.

Stating that there are a lot of opportunities in the water sector, Kant said: “Water recycling in urban areas is a must. Rainwater harvesting potential needs to be tapped. We need to plan by mandatorily redesigning and reinstating water recycling and rainwater harvesting mechanisms. That is the way forward to mitigate the impending water crisis.”

A 2018 NITI Aayog Report ‘Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) had painted a dire picture of the water scenario in India and claimed India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat.

It had also warned that the crisis was only going to get worse and 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 can have a negative impact on economic growth.

“Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water,” said the CWMI report that had aimed at enabling effective water management in the Indian states in the face of this growing crisis. The CWMI ranks states on water management and explains states’ progress on 28 indicators relating to water management.

A recent Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has flagged that some of the climate systems of the planet have already seen irreversible changes due to continued global warming. For India and much of South Asia, increasing heat waves and droughts that can lead to increased water-stress are among the most glaring findings.

Earlier this week, after Kant had spoken at a Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) event, past president, CII, and Chairman & Managing Director, Triveni Turbine Ltd. Dhruv M. Sawhney had highlighted “Kant’s extraordinary leadership and mentorship” he gives to the CII in driving its direction in climate change through the three ‘Centers of Excellence’ working on this — the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Development, the Green Business Council and the Water Institute.