Third World Centre for Water Management

Communications

Akin to a banana republic?

Asit K. Biswas

New Global Indian | Volume 1 | Number 12 | August, 2011

More than six decades after the Independence, India’s urban water quality is worse than ever before. Admittedly, the population has grown tremendously. Equally, agricultural and industrial activities and the levels of urbanization have increased significantly. However, even though population of the country is around 1.2 billion and industrial activities and urbanization have increased significantly during the post-Independent period, the country’s economic development has also accelerated substantially, as also has its knowledge, experience and technology. There is not a single good reason as to why India’s urban population cannot have access to clean water, wastewater cannot be property treated before being discharged to the rivers, and monsoon rains cannot be promptly drained so transportation and socioeconomic systems are not paralyzed. The problems have been known for long, solutions have been known for at least five decades and financial and management needs can be successfully met. Yet, the problems continue to persist. Analysis of the current situations and trends indicate that there is no realistic possibility that the problems will be solved during the next 30 years for most of urban India. Still, why it has not been possible for India to solve its urban water problems?

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