India creates new ministry for water as country faces major shortages

New Delhi: India’s government has created a new ministry to deal with water shortages as the country of 1.3 billion inhabitants grappling with the worst water crisis in its history.
Traditional water conservation practices are disappearing as ponds and lakes are filled to build homes and global warming is likely to aggravate the crisis, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday.
“We must conserve water for our children and future generations. The creation of the new ‘Ministry of Water Power’ is a decisive step in this direction,” he told parliament.
The ministry was formed late last month soon after Prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party scored a second landslide victory in the Indian general elections.
The move came as the Indian metropolis of Chennai faces extreme water shortages.
Weather officials have also forecast a poor monsoon season – proving to be a challenge for the agriculture sector, the primary source of livelihood for about 58 per cent of India’s population.
A government report released last year said India faced its worst-ever water crisis with about 600 million people suffering high to extreme water shortages and about 200,000 people dying annually due to inadequate access to safe water.
“By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6 per cent loss in the country’sGDP,” the report said.
A total of 21 major cities across India are expected to run out of water by 2020, affecting 100 million people, officials said.

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