American RadioWorks – Thirsty Planet

Water — or the lack of it — is a daily preoccupation for hundreds of millions of people in India. This portion of the documentary looks at how some residents of Delhi, India’s capital city, have to line up in the predawn hours to wait for tanker trucks to deliver potable water. In poor sections of the city, open sewers are a constant health risk, and untreated wastewater gets dumped directly into Delhi’s main river. In the countryside, farmers struggle with flooding and drought that scientists blame on interrupted monsoon patterns caused by warming of the Indian Ocean. Overuse of irrigation wells has led to a near collapse of groundwater aquifers in some regions. Meanwhile, the daily burden of drawing and carrying water over long distances causes millions of Indian girls to quit school, crippling their hopes of finding a way out of poverty. The founding generation of the state of Israel knew from the beginning that the nation had to solve its water security problems to survive. In recent decades, drought, a growing population, and an expanding agricultural sector forced new farming techniques, wastewater recycling, and the desalination of seawater to end its water crisis. Listeners will meet some of the men and women responsible, as well as those for whom water remains a difficulty — Palestinians in the West Bank who don’t share equally in the water bounty.

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