With many makeshift wells in New Delhi, India, running dry, and many more in danger of following suit, citizens are turning to an old-fashioned solution: rainwater harvesting. Five pilot projects in the city have successfully tested out an inexpensive system for collecting monsoon rainwater and directing it underground to replenish over-tapped aquifers. New Delhi officials have become enthusiastic cheerleaders for the concept and recently started requiring builders to include rain-collection systems on new homes and other buildings. Solutions to the city’s water crisis couldn’t come too soon; New Delhi has 14 million residents and adds another 500,000 every year. Conservationists estimate that at current rates of consumption the underground aquifers that provide more than 12 percent of the city’s water supply could go dry by 2020. Meanwhile, a remote section of northeast India known as one of the world’s wettest spots, Khasi Hills, is suffering from a serious water shortage blamed on pollution and deforestation.
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