WaterMaker India

From Evidence to Policy in India's Groundwater Crisis

CRISIS: India accounts for 25 percent of the world's extracted groundwater.

Among the barrage of threats to human survival – economic crises, terrorism, inequality – perhaps the most urgent but least prioritized lies underfoot: groundwater. The World Economic Forum ranks water crises the world's third greatest risk by impact, and extreme weather the top risk by likelihood. According to a 2016 study, aquifer depletion in agricultural regions could threaten nearly half the world's food sources and deny 1.8 billion people reliable access to water by 2050. The same study projects that aquifers in India's Upper Ganges basin may be depleted within 25 years. This alarming vulnerability calls for immediate policy action from national and local governments. India, despite its history of weak national- and state-level water policies, has an opportunity to be a global exemplar.

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