Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 54

SPECIAL REPORT the world behind China. By 2030, the population is estimated to reach 1.5 billion, with a 50 percent gap between water demand and supply. 2) Agriculture: Even though agriculture’s contribution to India’s GDP has decreased and now stands at approximately 15 percent, close to 600 million people are still dependent on it for their living. This makes the availability of water for agriculture crucial, not just for 54 percent of the working population engaged in farms as cultivators and labourers, but also for food production and the country’s economy. 3) Water Resources: India depends on two key sources of water supply – groundwater and rivers. Both are under stress due to rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and climate Prime Minister and Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, witness the Exchange of Agreements in New Delhi (January 15, 2018) change. Groundwater is used by households and agricultural producers. However, unsustainable extraction, due to variable water delivery (and free electricity to farms), has resulted in declining water tables. In some parts of India, the water table is falling by more than a metre per year. But the demand for water is increasing. Today, the country uses more groundwater than both China and the United States combined. 4) Infrastructure: Water supply and sanitation infrastructure are compromised in most parts of India. For instance, New Delhi faces approximately 40 percent system losses in water supplied to the city. Although improvements have been made in increasing the availability of water, signifi cantly more investments are needed to cater to approximately 76 million people who have no access to safe water. India–WANA Considerations Within the last decade, Israel has moved from a country with chronic water shortages due to climate change and persistent drought to a water-rich country. Today, it has more water