Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Nina Bellus makes this connection in New Delhi, India. This current event was reported in The Conversation on July 11, 2017, under the title “New Delhi is running out of water”, by Asit K. Biswas. Multiple researchers have published papers of ways to remediate this water crisis. It has been ongoing as a paper published by K.S Rajesh stated “Water consumption was allowed during a widespread water shortage” in 2004. This water shortage is real and a big problem.

ganges pollution

Figure 1. Excess pollution around the Ganges River

New Delhi Water Crisis

Figure 2. New Delhi citizens crowd water tank during water shortage

The dry and wet seasons in India can cause major problems during the year. Although there are months of constant rain, those months absent of rain cause water shortages throughout the nation. India has a population of over a billion and yet almost one billion people are facing severe water scarcity. Critical watersheds like the Ganges River are being contaminated or not replenished enough to support this megacity. This is important to WRE because of the lack of infrastructure and management needed to have an adequate water supply. To better understand the situation, rate of evaporation off the main watersheds and maximum daily demands should be known.

Economic bias is a problem in this situation where lower class citizens have less access to water. Households with running water only have access to clean water for a couple hours a day. If your house does not have running water, you must rely on bottled water which is costly. The Delhi Jal Board (responsible for water management) estimated “total distribution losses of around 40%”. Not only is the distribution lacking and unfair, but the water that is available is being contaminated. Our student Nina Bellus traveled to New Delhi this past December and witness tons of untreated waste water and industrial effluents entering streams and lakes. The water is heavily polluted. There is a lack of education when it comes to water sanitation and management that needs to be addressed. In 2015, Girish Gopinath published a paper on drought risk mapping in the Indian peninsula. He used a web application to map droughts to help prepare for and remediate effects of the dry season. As an aspiring WRE, one only hope there are more studies done to help reverse these negative effects and the economic and societal status of New Delhi improves to get the funding and education it needs to stop this water crisis.


Biswas, K Asit. New Delhi is running out of water. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/new-delhi-is-running-out-of-water-80402. Published July 11, 2017. Accessed January 25, 2018.

Gopinath G, Ambili G, Gregory SJ, Anusha C. Drought risk mapping of south-western state in the Indian peninsula – A web based application. Journal of Environmental Management. 2015;161:453-459. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479714006197. Accessed January 20, 2018.

Rajesh KS. Scientific approach of water management and conservation. ProQuest. 2004;16(1):51-58. http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.esf.idm.oclc.org/eds/detail/detail?vid=4&sid=fabafc02-4dee-4bdc-ab723ffd5e618821%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=RN148605899&db=edsbl. Accessed January 20, 2018.