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Self-made Water Woes  
Source:   Business Standard City   : Mumbai Published On   04-01-2010  


Nearly all large cities in India are in the grip of a serious water shortage, as revealed in a series of reports in this paper, which is likely to get worse as migration continues and rising incomes raise people’s need for water.

Mumbai is merely the worst affected right now because of poor rain last season, but the crisis goes deeper than one truant monsoon. As global warming makes the weather more unpredictable, the water economy of urban India will have to be planned without depending on reservoirs getting routinely filled up by rain every year.

In this, the country is burdened with the historical legacy of cities having come up where commerce suited them to be rather than where they ought to have been with plentiful water and good weather enabling a disease- and hassle-free life.

There is reason to be pessimistic about the future because most of the solutions being contemplated will not deliver. There is an unending quest for river and reservoir sources which can only be located further and further away with massive investment in civil engineering projects contemplated to bring the water over long distances to the urban centres.

As the countryside is also in acute need of water for its own sustenance and to meet the entire country’s need for food, the solution to the cities’ water problem has to be sought mostly within the cities themselves by trapping rainwater, saving water and recycling as much of waste water as possible.

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