India’s water crisis could deepen amid battle against Coronavirus
Amid India’s battle against COVID-19 pandemic, Indians are struggling for clean water to maintain basic hygiene standards. In order to prevent transmission of the novel Coronavirus, it is crucial to ensure cleanliness, which requires access to clean water. And with expert suggestion against Coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with soap, India is looming towards a larger water crisis in the coming days.
Water scarcity has been a major challenge for the country for decades, with thousands of citizens in both rural and urban India living without clean water and sanitation. According to reports, more than 160 million citizens in India do not have access to water for drinking and cleaning. And the approaching summers will only add to the water crisis of the country.
People who have lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and other severe illnesses.Due to the lack of plumbing facilities and access to clean water, people in rural villages have to walk distances to collect water from wells and nearby rivers for daily use. This poses a risk to their health amid Coronavirus fears.
From 20-30 second-hand wash to basic house cleaning, households in urban areas have increased the use of water every day. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, average water consumption has increased nearly 1.5 times amid the already strained availability of water. The nationwide lockdown has also deferred a number of irrigation and dam projects sanctioned by the government which would have helped in water management. Pressure to meet the demand for water utilities is mounting on government bodies such as jal boards, jalnigams and health departments.
According to the data released by the World Resources Institute, India is the thirteenth most water-stressed country in the world. Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city is in the middle of an acute water crisis with its reservoirs nearly dry since last year. Groundwater resources, river/lake water are severely overdrawn.
Amid pandemic woes, it is the need of the hour to spread awareness about water management. It is significant for every household to use water efficiently to ensure less wastage of the scarce resource. The government is also required to develop comprehensive programs to swiftly make clean water and sanitation available to all Indian families in urban and rural sectors.
Meanwhile, the number of Coronavirus infected cases has crossed 11,400 in India out of whom 1300 have recovered from the disease.