On the waterfront
That we have a problem on our hands is evident. India is among the most water-stressed countries on the planet, as is clear from the global water demand and availability data mapped by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States (see graphic).
A North-South stratification is visible in the graphic, both in terms of the physical supply of water and the access of populations to the resource. The entire southern hemisphere is water-stressed, in sharp contrast to the entire North, which has enough to meet its demand for the time being. The problem for the southern hemisphere countries is accentuated by their inability to mitigate the problem of lower availability of water by way of adequate storage provisions. India’s per capita storage capacity, for instance, is significantly lower than that of other countries, with the quantum of water that can be stored as a proportion of average river runoff pegged at just 50 days. This number subsumes wide variations — from 220 days in the Krishna, to just two days in the Brahmaputra/ Barak basin. The
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