World Water Day 2020: Water shortage is a real challenge for every country. India, with its population exceeding 130 crore, has been able to provide basic water supply close to home to 93% of its people, according to WaterAid report. Sharing these details exclusively with Financial Express Online, the data related to climate finance has been revealed in WaterAid’s report titled ‘State of World's Water 2020’.
The report on World Water Day 2020 explains that in order to tackle climate change, a lot of marginalised communities need clean water and decent toilets as a front line defense. In its country analysis, the report stated that India has now shifted its focus to providing piped water to every home at the household level by 2024.
Piped water to every home: What challenges does India face?
The report listed down some of the challenges that India is facing currently while trying to provide basic facilities to its citizens. While India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the report stated that rampant socio-economic inequalities and gaps in the service delivery system makes it hard for the government to provide basic necessities like water to some 7% of its people.
Moreover, while the government is trying to provide piped water to all homes by 2024, the climate crisis is posing a major problem. Due to climate change, Indians have suffered through natural disasters such as droughts, floods and cyclones through the last year, leaving homes and people destroyed.
Another major problem facing India is the lack of proper infrastructure to provide water. Most people are still relying on hand pumps for getting access to water, despite evidence suggesting that they "corrode when installed in soil or groundwater with high levels of salinity". Due to this, after some time, the water pumped out contains iron, causing stomach aches among children. The report states that the water sector needs to undergo major changes in India.
Climate finance: How much has India been investing?
According to the report, climate finance is an investment to reduce emissions contributing to climate change, as well as adapt actions that can minimise the negative impacts of climate.
In the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change, India ranks at 51st position, with the total climate finance per person per year between 2010 and 2017 being $3.24. While India and other vulnerable countries contribute the least to carbon emissions, they are still the most vulnerable, the report stated, adding that while an average person in the US accounts for a carbon dioxide emission of 16.5 metric tonnes in a year, an average Indian only accounts for 1.728 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. However, in the list of countries detailing the climate financing of all the countries, India has spent the most amount between 2010 and 2017, with a total climate finance of over $35 billion (over Rs 2.63 lakh crore). During the same time period, India has also had the highest amount of climate finance for water, sanitation and hygiene at $2,25 billion (approximately Rs 16,931 crore).
This translates to the fact that while India has been spending the most in absolute terms, the high population has been rendering the spending ineffective as compared to other countries. Considering the fact that India is the second most populous country, the need of the hour is to step up the investment in climate finance in order to ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water, which is a basic human right.
The report highlights how countries can come together to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene accessible for everyone everywhere.