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Crisis in India: Father, Son Lost Their Lives Over Water

Newser — Kate Seamons

An 18-year-old accused of cutting in line got into a scuffle over it. He ended up dead, as did his 60-year-old father, who suffered a heart attack after trying to calm the situation.

The New York Times shares the tragedy as an example of India's rising tensions over a precious resource: water. Rahul Kumar had been waiting in a line for clean water from a tanker in New Delhi in March when the incident occurred, and on Thursday, a policy think tank for the country released a report indicating things are on a dismal path—with the country already "suffering from the worst water crisis in its history." At present, 600 million Indians face high-to-extreme water scarcity, and the lack of access to safe water kills about 200,000 annually, per the report from Niti Aayog.

By 2030, the country's needs are projected to be twice the available supply. "We have 4% of the global water and 16% of the global population. The minute you bring this statistic into the equation, there is a non-rocket-science understanding of how this has happened," Samrat Basak, a director with the World Resources Institute, tells CNN.

Per the report, 80% of India's water is used for irrigation, and inefficiently at that. PRI in 2014 took a look at how subsidies to farmers—who in Punjab were given free electricity to power the submersible motors required to extract groundwater and were growing water-intensive crops—have fueled the problem.

That has some seeing a "notional price for water," as a fix, per Al-jazeera, while others counter that conservation efforts are the only feasible solution.

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