There is little doubt that India is one of the more acutely water stressed countries in the world, with >19% of the total world population who do not have access to clean water supply residing in India. Our water resources are being continuously exploited and we currently face a severe water management crisis; more than half of India’s districts are threatened by groundwater depletion & contamination due to human use whereas surface water resources face widespread pollution due to inadequate sanitation & indiscriminate industrial effluent disposal. In addition to water resource depletion, there are also severe health implications of this pollution and mismanagement of water resources – 4% of all deaths and ~6% of all diseases/ ill-health are caused due to poor quality of drinking water, lack of sanitation and hygiene practices. To tackle these challenges, there is a strong need in countries like India to manage water and other environmental resources in an integrated manner to enable healthier and hence happier living among communities, across the social and economic strata.
Poor water and environmental resources impact everyone but the poor more so, as they tend to live closer to dumping grounds and polluted waterbodies, infected with mosquitoes, and do not have sufficient means to protect themselves from the same.