According to a new global report released to mark World Water Day tomorrow, India has the maximum number of people – 63 million – living in rural areas without access to clean water.

WaterAid’s report said that lack of government planning, competing demands, rising population and water-cooling draining agricultural practices are all placing increasing strain on water.

Being one of the world’s fastest growing economies, it said ensuring water security for the growing population is one of the main challenges facing the country. According to India’s official Ground Water Resources Assessment, more than one-sixth of the country’s groundwater supply is currently overused.

“With 67 per cent of the country’s population living in rural areas and 7 per cent of the rural population even now living without access to clean water, India’s rural poor are highly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events and climate change”

The report said today, 663 million people globally are without clean water and the vast majority of them – 522 million – live in rural areas.

This World Water Day, WaterAid is calling on the government to deliver its promise to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes ensuring access to safe water to everyone, everywhere.

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