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SOURCE: Weather Channel

DATE: June 5, 2019

SNIP: In India, “Day Zero” has already arrived for over 100 million people, thanks to excessive groundwater pumping, an inefficient and wasteful water supply system and years of deficient rains. “Day Zero” is expected to arrive for millions more in India by 2020, when groundwater supplies are predicted to run out for 100 million people in the northern half of India.

Over 12% of India’s population – 163 million people of 1.3 billion – live under “Day Zero” conditions, with no access to clean water near their home, according to a 2018 WaterAid report. That is the most of any country in the world. With the taps dry, people are forced to dig ever-deeper wells or buy water.

The number of people in India experiencing “Day Zero” is set to grow significantly by 2020, according to a startling report released in 2018 by Niti Ayog, India’s federal think tank. “Supply gaps are causing city dwellers to depend on privately extracted groundwater, bringing down local water tables,” the report says.

“In fact, by 2020, 21 major cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru (formerly called Bangalore) and Hyderabad, are expected to reach zero groundwater levels, affecting access for 100 million people.”

Loss of groundwater supplies will force people in the affected cities to rely on rainwater harvesting and water piped from rivers – sources that are inadequate to meet the demand. Groundwater supplies 40% of India’s water needs, including more than 60% of irrigated agriculture and 85% of domestic water use. India accounts fo 12% of global groundwater use.

One of the most seriously affected cities is expected to be Bengaluru (population 12 million), India’s third largest city. A 2018 assessment by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, a public interest research and advocacy organisation, rated the city as one of the ten global cities most likely to hit Day Zero in the near future.