India water crisis flagged up in global report

Nesma seif write
The anger over water scarcity is palpable at a farmers’ protest in Dharodi village in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Thousands of protesters from several villages have been demanding clean drinking water for nearly a month and half now.

Rajpati Banwala throws her hands up as she chants slogans, demanding water with hundreds of other women and men under a huge tent.

“Even our livestock cannot drink the water the government gives us twice a week,” she says, adding that she has been spending 500 rupees ($7; £6) a month to buy drinking water.

Neelam Dhindsha, who was also at the protest, says she cannot even afford to buy water. “And there are many villagers like me,” she adds.

That is why I have been joining the protest even if that means that I have to wake up much earlier in the morning to finish my household chores and farm work.”

Their struggle for water is not an isolated one.

India is one 17 countries where “water stress” is “extremely high”, according to an exhaustive new global report released on Monday. This means that the country is running out of ground and surface water.

According to this database compiled by the World Resources Institute, a US-based think tank advocating sustainability , India ranks 13 among the 17 worst affected countries – a list that includes countries where large swathes are deserts such as Saudi Arabia.

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