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Water Scarcity and Regional Security in India – Chapter Summary

India faces increasing water scarcity as its population and economy grow. By 2050, India is expected to be the world’s most populous country and its economy is projected to be the world’s third-largest by 2030. The middle class is growing and its people are demanding more water, both directly and indirectly. India’s challenges in providing a reliable supply of water are compounded by centuries of poor water planning, a rapidly urbanizing population, and a lack of centralized water management. As much as 80% of India’s surface water is polluted with sewage or runoff from industry and agriculture. Groundwater is neither regulated nor priced, leading to depletion of aquifers in many areas. India uses more groundwater than the U.S. and China combined, and will need to carefully manage its existing water resources in order to meet the challenges of changing demographics and a changing climate.

This summary is drawn from Water, Security and U.S. Foreign Policy, Chapter 13, by Cecilia Tortajada, Udisha Saklani and Asit K. Biswas, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Summary prepared by Chelsea N. Spangler, WWF-US.

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