With annual water availability below 1,700 cubic metres per person, India is water-stressed, according to the UN, and by 2050, the country could well reach the water scarcity level of 1,000 cubic metres. This is due to over-exploitation of rivers and ground water sources, besides lack of rain water harvesting and other conservation efforts.
According to the Niti Aayog, 600 million people face high-to-extreme water stress in the country, while 75 per cent households do not have access to drinking water on premises. With rising temperatures and frequent droughts, it will be difficult for the country to ensure sufficient water for drinking and irrigation.
Water being a state subject, governments must focus on right pricing of urban water to encourage efficient use, while ensuring equity through consumption slabs. Alongside, they must support entrepreneurs in piloting and scaling up newer technologies for improving water quality in rural India.