Chennai, the city where drought is visible from space
Chennai is India's sixth largest city, but its residents are relying on trucks and trains to bring them water.

How can India tackle its water crisis?

Twenty-one of India’s major cities may run out of ground water as early as 2020.
Twenty-one of India’s major cities may run out of ground water as early as 2020 according to a government report. Some experts contest that assessment but daily water woes are a part of life for almost half of the country’s population.

The southern city of Chennai, where reservoirs are drying up due to a delayed monsoon and poor water management, is severely affected. Residents there have been queuing up to collect water from rationed government services, and schools, hospitals and restaurants are struggling to cope. Meanwhile, the Indian government has set up a new Jal Shakti (water power) Ministry, and is proposing a massive project to interlink India’s rivers as an answer to the water crisis. 

We focus on water conservation and management solutions to India’s water crisis. We speak to a water activist based in Chennai who restores lakes and ponds, the head of a Delhi-based non-profit that works to recharge groundwater, and a water expert who specialises in rural irrigation economy and policy making. 

Presenter: Devina Gupta

Contributors: Aditi Mukherjee, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute; Jyoti Sharma, President, FORCE Non-profit; Arun Krishnamurthy, Founder, Environmentalist Foundation of India