Connect with us

World

Rural India runs dry as thirsty megacity Mumbai sucks water

Rural India runs dry as thirsty megacity Mumbai sucks water

Published

on

Rural India runs dry as thirsty megacity Mumbai sucks water

 Far from the gleaming high-rises of India’s financial capital Mumbai, impoverished villages in areas supplying the megacity’s water are running dry – a crisis repeated across the country that experts say foreshadows terrifying problems.

“The people in Mumbai drink our water but no one there, including the government, pays attention to us or our demands,” said Sunita Pandurang Satgir, carrying a heavy metal pot on her head filled with foul-smelling water.

Demand is increasing in the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion people, but supplies are shrinking – with climate change driving erratic rainfall and extreme heat.

Large-scale infrastructure for Mumbai includes reservoirs connected by canals and pipelines channelling water from 100 kilometres (60 miles) away.

Advertisement

But experts say a failure of basic planning means that the network is often not connected to hundreds of rural villages in the region and several nearby districts.

Instead, they rely on traditional wells.

But demand far outstrips meagre resources, and critical groundwater levels are falling.

“Our days and our lives just revolve around thinking about collecting water, collecting it once, and collecting it again, and again,” Satgir said.

“We make four to six rounds for water every day… leaving us time for nothing else”.

Advertisement

Heatwaves and dry wells

Climate change is shifting weather patterns, bringing longer-lasting and more intense droughts.

Wells rapidly run dry early in the extreme heat.

In the peak of summer, 35-year-old Satgir said she can spend up to six hours a day fetching water.

Temperatures this year surged above a brutal 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

When the well dries, the village then relies on a government tanker with irregular supplies, two or three times a week.

Advertisement

It brings untreated water from a river where people wash and animals graze.

Satgir’s home in the dusty village of Navinwadi, near the farming town of Shahapur, lies some 100 kilometres from the busy streets of Mumbai.

The area is also the source of major reservoirs supplying some 60 percent of water to Mumbai, local government authorities say.

Mumbai is India’s second-biggest and rapidly expanding city, with an estimated population of 22 million.

“All that water from around us goes to the people in the big city and nothing has changed for us,” Satgir said.

Advertisement

“Our three generations are linked to that one well,” she added. “It is our only source.”

Deputy village head Rupali Bhaskar Sadgir, 26, said residents were often sick from the water.

But it was their only option.

“We’ve been requesting governments for years to ensure that the water available at the dams also reaches us,” she said. “But it just keeps getting worse.”

Government authorities both at the state level and in New Delhi say they are committed to tackling the problem and have announced repeated schemes to address the water crisis.

But villagers say they have not reached them yet.

Advertisement

‘Unsustainable rates’

India’s government-run NITI Aayog public policy centre forecasts a “steep fall of around 40 percent in freshwater availability by 2030”, in a July 2023 report.

It also warned of “increasing water shortages, depleting groundwater tables and deteriorating resource quality”.

Groundwater resources “are being depleted at unsustainable rates”, it added, noting they make up some 40 percent of total water supplies.

It is a story repeated across India, said Himanshu Thakkar, from the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, a Delhi-based water rights campaign group.

This is “typical of what keeps happening all over the country”, Thakkar said, adding it represents everything “wrong with the political economy of making dams in India”.

Advertisement

“While projects are planned and justified in the name of drought-prone regions and its people, most end up serving only the distant urban areas and industries,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who began a third term in office this month, announced a flagship scheme to provide tapped water to every household in 2019.

But in Navinwadi village, residents are resigned to living on the strictly rationed supply.

When the water tanker arrives, dozens of women and children sprint out with pots, pans, and buckets.

Santosh Trambakh Dhonner, 50, a daily labourer, said he joined the scramble as he had not found work that day.

Advertisement

“More hands means more water at home”, he said.

Ganesh Waghe, 25, said residents had complained and protested, but nothing was done.

“We are not living with any grand ambitions,” Waghe said. “Just a dream of water the next morning”. 

Advertisement

World

UK’s Rwanda asylum scheme has cost 700 million pounds

UK’s Rwanda asylum scheme has cost 700 million pounds

Published

on

By

UK's Rwanda asylum scheme has cost 700 million pounds

 Britain’s now-scrapped plan to deport migrants who arrive illegally on British shores to Rwanda has cost taxpayers 700 million pounds ($904 million), new interior minister Yvette Cooper said on Monday.

“Two and a half years after the previous government launched (the Rwanda plan), I can report it has already cost the British taxpayer 700 million pounds,” she told parliament. 

Continue Reading

World

Hungary, Slovakia ask European Commission to mediate with Ukraine over Lukoil

Hungary, Slovakia ask European Commission to mediate with Ukraine over Lukoil

Published

on

By

Hungary, Slovakia ask European Commission to mediate with Ukraine over Lukoil

Hungary and Slovakia have asked the European Commission to mediate a consultation procedure with Ukraine, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Monday, after Kyiv placed Russian group Lukoil on a sanctions list, stopping its supplies to the two countries.

Slovakia and Hungary have stepped up pressure on Kyiv after they said last week they had stopped receiving oil from Lukoil via Ukraine. Hungary receives 2 million metric tonnes of oil from the Russian group annually, around a third of its total oil imports, Peter Szijjarto said.

“I spoke with the Ukrainian foreign minister yesterday, he said they allow every oil transfer through, but it’s not true,” Szijjarto told reporters while in Brussels.

The two countries have now initiated a consultation with the European Commission, he said. “The Commission has three days to execute our request, after which we will bring the issue to court.”

Advertisement

Szijjarto said if the consultation procedure did not bear fruit, Hungary and Slovakia would bring the issue to an international court of their choosing instead.

In an attempt to sell the freed-up crude volumes, Lukoil has added some 140,000 metric tonnes of crude oil to its original lifting plan for the Black Sea port of Novorossiis for July, market sources said.

Lukoil’s oil supplies via Druzhba’s southern spur account for some 50% of the pipeline’s flows. MOL’s refineries in Slovakia and Hungary totally depend on supplies from Lukoil.

As an alternative, Hungary may import oil from Croatia’s Omisalj sea port via the Adria pipeline, while Slovakia is landlocked and is only able to get oil via Hungary.

Since April, oil imports via Omisalj were at around 500,000 metric tons each month. Supplies include such oil grades as Basrah, Azeri BTC and CPC Blend.

Advertisement

Russia continues to supply natural gas and oil to landlocked Hungary and Slovakia via Ukraine despite the war in the country and existing EU sanctions on Russian crude.

The countries have exemptions from oil sanctions to give them more time to transition to alternative sources of supply.

Both Slovakia and Hungary also supply energy to Ukraine. Szijjarto said Hungary provided 42% of Ukrainian electricity imports last month.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico said over the weekend that his country helped supply diesel to Ukraine, in comments in which he blasted the sanctions and said Slovakia would not be “hostage” to Ukraine-Russia relations.

On Monday Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar reiterated some of Fico’s comments, saying that the sanction had a bigger impact on Slovakia and the EU than Russia itself.

Advertisement

Ukraine’s ban does not affect other Russian oil exporters whose oil was still allowed to transit through Ukraine.

Continue Reading

World

Russian troops mount pressure on Ukrainian logistics hub of Pokrovsk

Russian troops mount pressure on Ukrainian logistics hub of Pokrovsk

Published

on

By

Russian troops mount pressure on Ukrainian logistics hub of Pokrovsk

Ukraine’s top commander said on Monday that Russian forces were staging relentless assaults to try to advance towards the town of Pokrovsk, a logistics hub in the east and that there was active fighting taking place along the entire front line.

Nearly 29 months after the full-scale invasion, Ukraine has stepped up its mobilisation effort to address its manpower shortages and been reinforced by supplies of Western artillery shells, but Russian troops have continued to inch forward.

“The enemy pays no attention to their fairly high level of losses and continues to push through towards Pokrovsk,” Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a statement from the eastern front.

Pokrovsk is less than 25 km (15 miles) from Russian-occupied land, according to open-source intelligence battlefield maps, and lies at an intersection of roads and a railway that makes it an important logistics point for the military and for civilians in the east.

Advertisement


“Active combat operations of varying intensity are taking place along the entire front,” Syrskyi said, noting that Russian forces were also trying to capture floodplain islands near the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.

FIGHTING RAGES IN EAST

Fierce battles, he said, also raged near several eastern villages and towns, including Krasnohorivka and Chasiv Yar, a strategic hilltop town whose capture would bring Russia closer to threatening important Kyiv-held Donetsk region cities.

That’s a balance to be found between perfect security, which is the priority. And there is no discussion.

Russia staged 39 assaults on the Pokrovsk front in the last 24 hours of a total of 117 registered along the front line, the military said in its daily battlefield readout.

Advertisement

Russian forces captured two villages in the east over the weekend, Russian media said, citing the Defence Ministry.

Though Kyiv’s weary troops have been on the backfoot this year with Russia again on the offensive and keeping up the pressure, Moscow’s progress has been slow.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who travels to China this week on a diplomatic trip, estimated on Friday that Russia controlled 17.68% of Ukrainian territory compared with 17.61% on Jan. 1, 2024.

A senior NATO official said this month that Russia lacked the munitions and troops for a major offensive in Ukraine and would need to secure significant ammunition supplies from other countries beyond what it already has to do so.

LONG-RANGE STRIKES

Advertisement

Russia has pounded Ukraine’s electricity system with airstrikes in recent months, causing regular power cuts across the country.

Ukraine has used domestic-made drones to attack targets in Russia and staged a major overnight strike that damaged its Tuapse oil refinery, its biggest on the Black Sea.

In his statement, Syrskyi said it was vital for Kyiv to conduct long-range strikes on Russian forces, echoing Ukrainian officials who have appealed to allies to allow Kyiv to use Western-supplied weapons to attack military targets inside Russia.

Russia has warned that the use of U.S. and Western weapons against targets inside Russia could trigger a new level of confrontation.

Ukraine is also grappling with a shortage of short-range anti-aircraft missiles to repel Russian reconnaissance drones and is having to rely on drones and other electronic warfare systems for defence, he said. 

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © GLOBAL TIMES PAKISTAN