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Unless India figures out a way to properly price its water resources, the country could be facing serious shortage of drinking water in a few decades, warns this blog article from NY Times. The article refers to a research study done on the topic by Grail Research.

“Part of the problem is that in many of India’s 35 states and territories, water is free or heavily subsidized, the report said. That encourages those with access — particularly commercial users — to squander it.

In Delhi, for example, residents pay $3.52 or less for each 1,000 cubic feet (7,480 gallons) of water. In Vijayawada, they pay $1.50. In contrast, Miami-Dade residents pay as much as $32.84 per 1,000 cubic feet. In Boston the price can be as high as $47.19.”

Now, I’m not sure how correct it is to compare India prices and US prices without applying a PPP factor to it; however, leaving that aside, my peeve against the article is that it is stating something that has been known for a long time. And what’s more, India is facing serious drinking water problems right now, forget 2020 or 2050!

And while pricing might indeed be one of the factors, I’d be happy if the other key recommendations made by the Grail Research team to ease water shortages are implemented at the earliest: increasing desalination and rainwater harvesting, improving watershed management, and use of public-private partnerships for water treatment and distribution.