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10 Indian cities facing water scarcity in 2023

Indian cities water scarcity; The country is staring at a grave due to water crisis, the groundwater level has fallen alarmingly from India’s

By Muskan Dixit
New Update
India's parched cities in 2023

The problem of water is not running out of water but it's all about how to allocate a fixed resource. The country is staring at a grave due to the water crisis affecting human life.

According to the Union Ministry of Agriculture, the groundwater level has fallen alarmingly from India’s looming water crisis. A Composite Water Management Report asserts that the demand for water will be twice its availability by the year 2030, indicating severe water scarcity.

The report found that most states scored below 50% on the index and that 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020. If current trends continue, in the upcoming 20 years an estimated 50% of all India’s aquifers will be at critical or over-exploited levels. India could experience a drop of 6%  in its GDP due to water scarcity alone.

According to the report of Niti Ayog, Government of India, the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai have been facing serious Water scarcity since 2018.

India has about 17% of the world's population, but only 4% of the world's freshwater resources, according to official reports. That makes it one of the most water-stressed countries on the planet and raises questions about the future of food production.

About 74% of the wheat-growing area and 65% of the rice-growing area will face significant levels of water scarcity by 2030, according to a 2019 report by the public policy think tank NITI Aayog.


Maharashtra is facing a water crisis of unprecedented portions. The level of water depleted in reservoirs and dams and the over-exploitation of groundwater, the Groundwater Survey and Development Authority (GSDA) has warned and set alarm bells ringing across the state.

Methgharkila village, Maharashtra. Source: Flickr/Michael Foley

Water tankers have become the sole source of water in parched regions. In 2019, the state government had to deploy the highest number of water tankers around the most crowded regions of the state to fulfil the needs. Owing to scanty rainfall since 2016, about 761 villages.

The groundwater levels have fallen dramatically since the Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Act, and the water extraction regulation was not implemented efficiently. Approx 151 villages facing water scarcity.


Despite rainfall in the state last monsoon, people were facing a water crisis. In 2021, the water level of the Narmada dam was approx 115.75 meters. Gujarat is facing a massive water crisis. At present Gujarat has only 2% of the country’s water resources with 5% of the population.

Further, more than 40% of rain flows into the sea as runoff every yeast due to the absence of water conservation structures. The state government has shown some willingness to fix the issue in the form of a document as Vision 2020 but nothing goes as per the plan.

Kanmer, Gujarat. Source: Flickr/India Water Portal

More than about 500 villages in 14 districts in Gujarat are dependent on tankers for water. The situation was worse in Saurashtra, Kutch and Northern Gujarat. Except for the Narmada dam and the Sardar Sarovar canal, other water reservoirs have remained exhausted.

The Gujarat Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, resolved to implement the Jal Jeevan Mission, aiming that each rural household has a tap connection.


The crisis in Karnataka is severe agrarian distress in the eastern plains but also creates a shortage of domestic water. As many as 19,00 villages in about 30 districts facing drought-like conditions and to fulfil water need 26,00 water tankers have been dispatched.

Karnataka. Source: PxHere

According to the 2019 report, the Karnataka Government declared 3,122 regions were severely affected by drinking water.


The capital city of Jharkhand, Ranchi is facing a severe water crisis. There is a scarcity of drinking water. Half of Jharkhand is Drought-Hit. Koderma, Khunti and Garhwa district's situations are the worst.

Crisis of drinking water. Source: Wikimedia Commons

As per the report of 2018, Jharkhand recorded a deficit of 28% of rainwater. There is no water in hand pumps and ponds. The government also failed to provide water. People don't have water for drinking.

5-Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is staring at a major drinking water crisis and due to scarcity of clean water, more than a hundred people fell ill. The dams and rivers also do not have that much water.

Villagers collecting borewell water from private farmland. Source: Flickr

The reservoirs in the state have no inflow and water levels. The government is trying hard to overcome the problem.


Rajasthan is always part of water scarcity with a decadal average study from November 2008 to November 2018 there has been a decline in groundwater by 62.70% in the state with only a 37.20% rise.

Drawing water from beris at Hema, Ramgarh, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Source: Flickr

But after Covid-19, there has been an acute rise in the water crisis in rural areas. Villagers are unable to arrange water either for themselves or for animals. 

7-Uttar Pradesh 

The crisis is found in Uttar Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Mathura and Aligarh as wells, hand pumps have been dried and ponds have disappeared.

(Indian cities water scarcity) Three Bridges over the river Ganges. Source: Flickr

But the State Government however denied that there is any law and order problem due to water shortage in the region. As per Government 2011-2022, 90% rural population benefited from the water supply.


Bengaluru city will face an acute water crisis in upcoming years and gets 1,450 million water per day from the Cauvery Basin. The severity of the water crisis appears to be worse in the northern and western parts of the city.

Indian cities water scarcity. Source: Flickr

Doddabidarakallu, Herohalli, Ullalu and Hemmigepura have the most dependence on groundwater.

According to official data, there are a total of 9,294 borewells, over that 1,793 don’t work due to the lack of water. While the groundwater. A total of 4 lakh are registered borewells.


Chennai is brutally facing a dire water crisis. As per the 2019 report, the four reservoirs that provide the majority of water supply are dried up, forcing restaurants, businesses, and schools to close and leaving residents to wait in line for hours for water from municipal or private tankers.

Chennai is very horrifying because of the water crisis. Source: Flickr

This will affect people with low incomes. Chennai is very horrifying because of the water crisis. But its geography is also its weakness.

The cyclone-prone waters of the Bay of Bengal periodically surge into the city. Chennai is maximum dependent on  Rainfall, with up to 90% falling during the northeast monsoon season. 


According to the report of the Economic Survey 2017, 20% of the drinking water in Delhi was wasted due to mismanagement. According to expectations, 30% of drinking water is wasted. About 18 per cent of households in the capital city, Delhi, do not have piped water supply.

Indian cities water scarcity. Source: Council on Foreign Relations

There is illegal construction near reservoirs, over-extraction of groundwater, pollution in water bodies and wastage of residential water supply are some of the main reasons because of why Delhi is facing the water crisis.

30 Indian cities that will face a ‘grave water risk’ by 2050

1. Jaipur 11. Kolkata 21. Jalandhar
2. Indore 12. Ahmedabad 22. Pune
3. Thane 13. Jabalpur 23. Dhanbad
4. Vadodara 14. Mumbai 24. Bhopal
5. Srinagar 15. Lucknow 25. Gwalior
6. Rajkot 16. Hubli-Dharwad 26. Surat
7. Kota 17. Nagpur 27. Delhi
8. Nashik 18. Chandigarh 28. Aligarh
9. Visakhapatnam 19. Amritsar 29. Kozhikode
10. Bengaluru 20. Ludhiana 30. Kannur
Indian cities water scarcity


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