By Somini Sengupta and Weiyi CaiAug. 6, 2019
Today, among cities with more than 3 million people, World Resources Institute researchers concluded that 33 of them, with a combined population of over 255 million, face extremely high water stress, with repercussions for public health and social unrest.
By 2030, the number of cities in the extremely high stress category is expected to rise to 45 and include nearly 470 million people.
A lot can be done to improve water management, though.
First, city officials can plug leaks in the water distribution system. Wastewater can be recycled. Rain can be harvested and saved for lean times: lakes and wetlands can be cleaned up and old wells can be restored. And, farmers can switch from water-intensive crops, like rice, and instead grow less-thirsty crops like millet.
“Water is a local problem and it needs local solutions,” said Priyanka Jamwal, a fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment in Bangalore.