Skip to main content

Just 20% of India's city sewage is treated; urban areas' groundwater "to turn into" contaminated aquifers

By Our Representative
A recent Government of India report has delivered stiff warning that groundwater resources in growing urban centres are likely to become “contaminated as much by residual contaminants from erstwhile agricultural activities and poor rural sanitation as by contamination from more current haphazard waste-water disposal.”
Pointing out that “only 33% urban Indians are connected to a piped sewer system and 13% – roughly 50 million urban Indians – still defecate in the open”, the report, prepared by a committee headed by India’s foremost water resources expert Dr Mihir Shah, says that “large parts of the modern cities remain unconnected to the sewage system as they live in unauthorised or illegal areas or slums, where state services do not reach.”
Noting that surveys of groundwater quality in many cities reveal “a large magnitude of water-borne pathogenic contamination – commonly referred to as bacteriological contamination – , the report insists, they signify “clear signs of groundwater contamination by sewage.”
The report, titled “A 21st Century Institutional Architecture for India’s Water Reforms Report”, comes at a time when top Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, a noted economist from the University of Columbia, has been advocating the need to encourage urbanization as fast as possible.
According to the report, however, number of people living in urban areas is expected to more than double by 2050, and “this will pose unprecedented challenges for water management in urban India”, because there is a huge demand for rapidly industrialising and urbanizing when the potential for augmenting water supply is “limited”, water tables are “falling” and water quality issues have “increasingly come to the fore.”
Insisting that “many urban stretches of rivers and lakes are overstrained and overburdened by industrial waste, sewage and agricultural runoff”, the report states, “These wastewaters are overloading rivers and lakes with toxic chemicals and wastes, consequently poisoning water resources and supplies” and the toxins find their way into “plants and animals, causing severe ecological toxicity.”
“In India, cities produce nearly 40,000 million litres of sewage every day and barely 20 percent of it is treated”, the report asserts, quoting a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) survey as stating that “only 2% towns have both sewerage systems and sewage treatment plants.”
“Averaged for 71 cities and towns, groundwater constitutes 48% of the share in urban water supply. In India, 56 per cent of metropolitan, class-I and class-II cities are dependent on groundwater either fully or partially”, the report says.
Further noting that “unaccounted water in urban areas exceeds 50% according to the Central Ground Water Board’s report on the groundwater scenario in 28 Indian cities”, the report, which has been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office for further action, says, “Privately driven, individualistic pumping of groundwater has led to problems of co-terminal depletion and contamination of aquifers.”

Comments

TRENDING

RSS wanted Constitution 'replaced' by Manusmriti which abused Dalits, women

By Shamsul Islam* The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949 which is celebrated as the Constitution Day This Constitution promised new born Indian Republic a polity based on democracy, justice, egalitarianism and rule of law. However, RSS was greatly annoyed. Four days after the historic event of approval of it, the RSS English “Organiser” in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

Nuclear energy 'can't solve' global warming, will 'strain' financial, natural resource

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who has favoured nuclear energy as a solution to global warning, well-known power and policy analyst Shankar Sharma has said that the IAEA chief's “unsubstantiated advocacy” of nuclear power is associated with “diversion of considerable amounts of scarce resources, both financial as well as natural, of many developing countries, such as India.”

Covid taught us: Exams are cruel process of 'eliminating' those seeking education

By Sandeep Pandey, Seema Muniz, Gopal Krishna Verma* Some people are disheartened with the disruption in children’s education due to the menace of Covid and the successive lockdowns. While a number of children are getting used to attending online classes, their counterparts from the weaker socio-economic backgrounds continue to struggle either because of unfamiliarity with technology or because of having to share a single device with their siblings and/or parents. More unfortunate ones have been completely pushed out of the system which has resulted in the virtual drop in the rate of enrolment.

Book on Bhil rebels offers other side of history, neglected by 'nationalist' historians

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  One of the major accusations against Indian historians is that of neglecting and ignoring the role of the marginalised in the freedom struggle. Most of the time, we are ‘informed’ that there were some ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ of the freedom movement, all of them belonging to the same stock of caste as well as ‘power’ positions as their opponents.

Mysterious death of Kishenji 'triggered' series of splits in Maoist camp in India

By Harsh Thakor* On November 24 fell the 10th death anniversary of Kishenji, a prominent Maoist leader, he was also a poet, a scientist, and a soldier. Since his school days he dreamt of planting the seed to create new man. Born in 1954 in Peddapally town (in Karimnagar district, north Telangana), Kishenji was raised by his father Venkataiah (a “freedom fighter”, he called him) and a progressive mother, Madhuramma.

Govt of India responsible for 71% delays in NREGA wage payments, say economists

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than 70 economists have urged the Government of India to release “adequate funds” for implementing the rural jobs guarantee scheme under the MGNREGA immediately, pointing out that the pandemic continues to adversely affect the living condition of working families.

Learning to bridge 'huge chasm' between highly educated, illiterate, badly literate

By Shrey Ostwal, Sandeep Pandey*  The pivotal point of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey to become Mahatma Gandhi began when his “political guru” – Gopal Krishna Gokhale – advised young Mohandas to travel around India. This rigorous journey was essential for Mohandas to understand his country and countrypersons better if he were to fight the inhumane and unempathetic British regime which had been looting India of its glory for about two centuries then.

Dalits 'celebrate' Constitutional Power Era in 12,500 villages of 16 districts on Nov 26

By Pradip More*  It is a fact that the majority of the people do not have much knowledge about the law, and especially the Constitution. Yet, today's younger generation is becoming increasingly aware of its rights. One wished it would have been good if it was taught about the Constitution well in the schools.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Arrest of top J&K civil society leader shows contempt for international law: PUCL

Counterview Desk  Commenting on the arrest of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, India’s top human rights advocacy group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that the Government of India action is “one more attempt ... to silence peaceful, non-violent dissenters”, adding, it suggests how “a brutalizing state machinery" has been acting.