India and Pakistan’s Struggle Over Water

kashmirAfter two consecutive years of weak monsoons, 330 million people in India, a quarter of the country’s population, are affected by a severe drought. More than 60 percent of agricultural land in India is not irrigated, so the failed rains are particularly devastating for farmers. The drought has destroyed crops and dried up wells already stressed by overuse, forcing rural families to move to cities like Mumbai and prompting hundreds of cash-strapped farmers to commit suicide. In urban areas, dry conditions are compounded by a heatwave that has sent temperatures soaring above 50 degrees Celsius, breaking national records. Low water levels have also forced operators to shut down or scale back electricity production at electrical plants, despite chronic blackouts in many cities. India, the world’s second most populous country, is also acutely aware that erratic monsoons could become worse in the future, calling climate change the biggest risk to its economy.

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