The recent acute water shortage in Chennai has fuelled concerns that a potential water crisis is awaiting India’s large cities, which are grappling with the pressures of rapid population growth, depletion of water resources and adverse effects of climate change.
Tamil Nadu’s capital city did impose water cuts from June to conserve resources, but a prolonged dry spell caused its four main reservoirs to run dry. A train is now meeting the city’s needs by ferrying water every day from nearby Vellore. However, businesses in the city, like the vibrant auto industry, must find their own ways to deal with the crisis.
According to the report, “The average population growth rate among the 11 extreme risk cities is 49%; more than 127 million people will call them home by 2035.” Securing water resources will be an important consideration for businesses to ensure continuity in operations and for cities to fuel economic activity.
India is rated ‘high risk’ in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, which suggests that effects of climate change like an ‘extended dry season’ would make matters worse for the country’s cities. The study says, “Many major Indian cities are projected to experience a higher number of consecutive drought days when precipitation is less than 1 mm. Bengaluru, for example, is expected to experience 5% increase in consecutive drought days by 2060, relative to the period from 1981 to 2005.”