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A study finds poor water quality behind high incidence of waterborne diseases among households in Ludhiana. The poor suffer the most from it.

Water pollution is a serious problem in India with 70 percent of its surface and groundwater resources contaminated by biological, toxic, organic, and inorganic pollutants. As a result, the socio-economic cost of poor water quality is high.

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Unregulated construction and use of farm ponds in Maharashtra have further aggravated the drinking water situation in water-scarce areas in the state.

In the last few years, the water situation in Maharashtra has got worse resulting in severe droughts leading to drinking water scarcity and agricultural crisis. This has caused immense suffering for the rural folk in the state and saw instances of violence in the name of water. The government was forced to enforce Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code to facilitate smooth distribution of water among the population.

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The new urban water supply scheme in Madhya Pradesh that encourages private sector participation is replete with lacunae, according to an NGO that studied the scheme.

In November 2011, the government of Madhya Pradesh sanctioned Rs 493 crore to 37 Urban Local Bodies (ULB) for drinking water supply projects under the Chief Minister’s Urban Drinking Water Supply Scheme (CMUWSS) along the lines of the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT).

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A study from Telangana finds faulty power subsidy policies of the state and the resultant increase in tube wells with electric pumps as reasons for depleting groundwater levels.

According to the data released by the Food and Agricultural Organisation’s AQUASTAT in 2010, at 250 billion m³ per year, India is one of the countries that uses groundwater the most. As high as 80 percent of its water is used for irrigation of which 65 percent is groundwater.

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There is a grave health concern around women manual workers who work under extreme conditions of heat with poor access to sanitary facilities. This needs urgent redressal at the policy level.

In a tropical country like India, the summer months are hot which threaten the health of millions of people every year.

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A study finds increased risk of sexual violence among women who defecate in the open due to lack of proper sanitation facilities.

While nearly half of the world’s population (42 percent) lacks access to improved sanitation conditions, India is the worst performer in sanitation coverage, even below those countries with half of the households (53 percent) not having access to toilets. At 49.8 percent, India has the highest number of people practising open defecation in the world.

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Potential threats of environmental deterioration continue to be ignored in Kollam partly due to the difficulty in regulating an industry that produces resources of high strategic importance.

Mining and processing of heavy and rare earth minerals can produce a tremendously negative impact on the land and environment in the area, the magnitude and intensity of which depends on the kind of chemicals and processes used, the efforts taken in the management of waste as well as on environmental fragility of the location. It can also endanger the health of local residents as well as their livelihoods through water pollution and destruction of farmland thereby violating the rights of local communities.

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Reviving traditional water bodies, and not environmentally-unsustainable mega projects which are expensive, is the most viable solution to deal with water scarcity in parched lands like Bundelkhand.

Although droughts are not new in India, we are seeing more of it of late. The paper Seeking viable solutions to water security in Bundelkhand published in the Economic and Political Weekly dated November 5, 2016 informs that people in South Asia have managed the vagaries of seasons for centuries through water-harvesting structures and by managing the available water efficiently through traditional water management practices that utilised water without wastage.

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The implementation of the CRZ rules and prioritising the needs of fishing communities by involving them in the process is the right and holistic approach to end coastal deterioration.

The coastal regions of India are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate changes, developmental activities and urbanisation. Sustaining the livelihoods of fishing communities and preserving the health of coastal ecosystem and biodiversity are important challenges that India faces.

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It is important to look at rivers from an ecological point of view to solve transboundary water issues amicably.

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) basin is the third largest river flow system in the world with an annual runoff about 1,150 billion cubic meters (BCM) and the peak outflow of 1,41,000 cumecs. The basin has a total area of just over 1.7 million square kilometres, distributed between India (64 percent), China (18 percent), Nepal (9 percent), Bangladesh (7 percent) and Bhutan (3 percent).

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