More Than Half of India’s Rivers Too Polluted to Drink

Raw sewage and industrial waste rendered water in more than half of India’s 445 rivers unfit for drinking, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

The report compared pollution levels from 1995 to 2011 including the rivers as well as 154 lakes and 78 ponds in the second-most populous nation. Water from at least a quarter of the rivers surveyed can’t even be used for bathing, it said.

India will need “considerable” investments in waste management to meet demands of growing urban populations. Only 29 percent of municipal wastewater is treated by Indian cities of 38 billion liters (10 billion gallons) generated every day, according to the report. By 2050, 100 billion liters may come from Indian cities each day, it said.

India’s per capita fresh water resources have fallen to 1,845 cubic meters in 2007 from 6,042 cubic meters in 1947, according to the report. This is expected to drop to 1,000 cubic meters by the end of the century, it said. Indian cities use 50 billion liters of municipal water a day, the report said.

Although the nation isn’t facing immediate water scarcity issues, several river basins including the Sabarmati in western India are under severe stress, according to the report made public last month.

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