fnbworld bureau/New Delhi
Can Faith Save What We Knowingly Pollute & Waste? Water crisis is staring at India's capital - home to 16 million people and the situation is going to become dire in the coming years, leading to more conflicts and pollution, warns a new study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).
The study also points out that despite the current shortage of water, the city also sees huge wastage of water, estimated at over 40%, against 10-20% in cities of other developing countries. The study estimated the revenue loss to Delhi Jal Board - which sees 56% of its water supplied not being properly billed for - at Rs19.91bn (nearly $500mn).
The study says water pollution was another area of concern even though the water in Yamuna reaches the national capital relatively clean after its 395km descent from the Himalayas. As it leaves the city, the river becomes the principal drain for Delhi's waste as residents pour about 950mn gallons of sewage into it each day. Coursing through the capital, the river becomes a noxious black thread. Let alone drinking, fecal coliform in the Yamuna (a measure of filth) is 20%, or 100,000 times the safe limit for even bathing, with raw sewage floating on top and methane gas gurgling on the surface, the study points out.
India receives an average of 4,000bn cubic metres of rainfall every year; only 48% ends up in its rivers. Due to lack of storage and crumbling infrastructure, only 18% can be utilized. Rainfall is confined to the monsoon season, June through September, when India gets, on average, 75% of its total annual precipitation.
The study warns that the manmade water crisis could get more complex and lead to more interstate conflicts if prompt measures are not taken to tackle the problem. Increased demand for clean water...is contributing to rising food prices. The world's scarcity of clean water is widely known, yet it is still one of the cheapest commodities in the world, says the report.