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[File Photo] People fill their jerry cans from a water tanker sent by Yogoda Satsanga Math to a drought-hit village on the outskirts of Ranchi on May 12, 2016.IANS

After Delhi, Chandigarh and Bengaluru now Kolkata is staring at a severe water shortage likely in the next few years due to a massive drop in the groundwater levels. The experts believe that the groundwater level of the city is depleting at an alarming rate due to the spike in water wastage.

In a recent event organized by Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, Subrata Gupta, Urban Development secretary said, "If we are not conscious about saving water, we are likely to face a shortage in future."

Gupta said massive urbanization and large-scale use of groundwater have depleted the groundwater level in Kolkata and construction of concrete pavements had further made the situation critical as they have lesser ability to soak in the rainwater.

A few days ago, a report titled 'Composite Water Management Index' by Niti Aayog set off the alarm bells by stating that at least 21 major cities may run out of groundwater by 2020.

A leading newspaper reported about the surge in the water consumption of the city which is way higher than other cities of the country. The water consumption measurements in some parts of the city are alarmingly high. Consumption is more than 600 litres per person. The Central Public Health Engineering Organization revealed in a report that the national per capita consumption of water is 135 litres a day. Chennai has the lowest per capita consumption which is close to 84 litres, Bangalore stands at 100 litres and Mumbai consumes 170 litres.

The experts in this field and civil engineers pointed out the major causes of this problem. The less percolation of rainwater underground due to concrete pavements and the massive wastage of treated water has spiralled this problem.

The segregation of the waste at the household level is another emerging problem in the city. "In the coming future the city will produce more than 9000 metric tonnes of waste daily", said the Gupta at the event. As per a new report, only seven of 144 wards of the city segregate waste. Residents of these seven wards were given separate bins to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable The biodegradable waste goes to the Dhapa dumping ground and the non-biodegradable waste goes for industrial use. Presently the recyclable waste collected from the city is only five tonnes as per government records.