India’s first water census report (pdf) defines a water body as a structure where “water from ice-melt, streams, springs, rain or drainage of water from residential or other areas is accumulated, or water is stored by diversion from a stream or a river.”

Of all water bodies in India, 97.1% are in rural areas; 2.9% in urban areas. The functional or “in-use” water bodies are used for pisciculture, irrigation, and groundwater recharge, the report said. Moreover, 78% of them are man-made, and the rest are natural.

The Indian Express reported that seven types were excluded from the count:

India’s water crisis is complex

The availability of safe drinking water has been a major challenge in the world’s most populous nation. Contamination and a lack of access to piped supply, together with the effects of climate change, have caused acute water stress in the country.

“Two-thirds of India’s 718 districts are affected by extreme water depletion,” according to Unicef. “Close to 54% of rural women—as well as some adolescent girls—spend an estimated 35 minutes getting water every day, equivalent to the loss of 27 days’ wages over a year.”

Roughly 6% of India’s population, which is more than 91 million people, lacks access to safe water, according to the global non-profit

In drought-prone states like Maharashtra, which have only 7.2% of India’s water bodies in all, governments have had to transport water by train. Agriculture has suffered, too, due to water scarcity, especially since India’s crops are often water-intensive, be it sugarcane, paddy, or cotton.

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