Case Studies: India

India

For the past several decades, India has faced a major water crisis. The government has not been able to distribute water on a regular basis and because of this, two-thirds of India's population currently does not have access to proper sanitation. This water shortage has many causes, many of them not known until a few years ago.

Causes

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, India's population has grown from 350 million to 1.15 billion, almost tripling its previous number. Because of this population growth, Indians have been forced to draw water from wells, rivers, and ponds: the same sources that they use to bathe both themselves and their animals. This contaminates their water sources with dangerous bacteria and viruses. Because they do not have access to clean water, a total of 2.1 million children younger than 5 die every year.

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Impacts

"Your whole day goes just planning how you'll get water. You become so edgy all the time." These are words from 45 year old Ritu Prasher, a middle-class citizen of New Delhi, India. Even though Ritu is part of the middle-class of India, she still has trouble collecting water from the government on a regular basis.

However, India hasn't always been in such a poor condition. For centuries, rivers have been a major source for water in India. Many Hindu Indians worship the mighty Yamuna River, which is believed to be a sacred source of water that fell from heaven to earth. When the river passes through New Delhi, the capital of India, the water is drinkable and the government amasses 229 million gallons of water every day from it. However, when the Yamuna River goes past the city, neighbors to the river throw 950 million gallons of waste into it every single day, making the river a black strait of methane and sewage.

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