World Water Day 2019: How safe is the water we are drinking (Photo: Twitter)
For World Water day 2019, UN-Water this year projects the theme, ‘Leaving no one behind’ with a focus to encourage people to consider ‘marginalized groups’ who have very little access to safe water. In a country like India, with over 163 million not having access to clean water, the theme should be in the fore-front of an everyday ‘rise’ and not just World Water Day. This watery-affair hits close to home especially as Indians because we live in a country that is undergoing through ‘one of the worst water-crisis’.
In 2017, the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore renowned for its IT parks and polished skyscrapers, sparked a lot of questions regarding the water that reaches our home, which so to say, is also running out..fast. This so to say is just one of the many, many instances that makes us rethink if the water that nature has abundantly provided us in the first place is being murdered by our own hands.
Last year, the BBC reports the water-state of India as 'worst water crisis in its history' with some 600 million people facing acute water shortage. The report also adds warns that 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020 despite increasing demand which as a result would threaten food security as 80% of water is used in agriculture.
Going back to the lack of clean drinking water worsened even by the lack of such. A data provided by the Rajya Sabha on 2017 reports shows that the privilege few are not exempt from the turmoil of having to walk miles for a bucket of water do not fit into the bill of what should be defined ‘safe’ drinking water. The chart shows that the contaminants found in the ‘drinking-water’ has components which can be hugely detrimental to another crisis-health crisis. It shows Iron, which is known to cause respiratory system haemorrhage when mixed with drinking water, arsenic, known to cause skin lesions and cancer and fluoride, which, according to the American Cancer Society records the potential link between water fluoride levels and cancer at an alarming high rate.
More than 163 million people in India do not have access to clean water, the highest in the world. For the prevailing crisis, the government plans to provide 50% of all rural households with piped water and 35% of rural households with household taps according to the strategic plan for rural drinking water, 2011-2022 with a goal to provide 90% rural households with piped water and 80% of rural households with household taps by 2022. However, with a record about 37.7 million Indians affected by waterborne diseases, over 10,738 deaths in the last five years since 2017 due to consumption of contaminated drinking water, the battle of having fresh-water in our homes seems far from over.