A report that was released to mark World Water Day on Tuesday said India has the largest number of people without access to safe water in the world, reported the Times of India. According to the Wall Street Journal, China ranks after India in the list of countries where a large portion of the population is living with contaminated drinking water, while Bangladesh (8th) and Pakistan (10th) are ranked far higher.
The report by WaterAid suggested that about 7.6 crore people – 5% of India's total population – are deprived of safe water and the country registers around 1.4 lakh child deaths annually because of diarrhoea, a mainly water-borne disease. It has blamed poor management of water resources and over-extraction of ground water for the problem.
"Aquifers or underground water provide 85% of drinking water, but levels are falling in 56% of the country. Hand pumps are exacerbating the crisis in many areas by depleting shallow aquifers. Misappropriation in planning and execution of water supply projects is another key factor," said the report, “Water: At What Cost? The State of the World’s Water 2016”.
The global report said because of this water crisis, communities fall back on a single or distant source of drinking water, often leading to disputes and increased discrimination against the main water fetchers, particularly women. According to the report, India’s water bill is low compared with Papua New Guinea, which has been ranked the most difficult and expensive place in the world to access clean water.