Residents walk past a polluted river in Bangalore, India, which is experiencing a severe shortage of clean water. AFP BANGALORE, India - Every day more than 1,000 water tankers rumble past a small plywood store in Bangalore. Gleaming new apartment blocks are still springing up all over the city known as India's Silicon Valley - even though there is nowhere near enough mains water to supply those already living and working there. Many rely entirely on supplies shipped in by tankers filled from giant borewells that have caused groundwater levels to plummet, sparking predictions Bangalore could be the first Indian city to run out of water. There is a severe scarcity of water here, said Nagraj, 30, who moved to the suburban neighborhood of Panathur a decade ago and has seen it transformed by rampant construction. Panathur lies next to Bangalore's biggest lake, Bellandur, which provides a poignant reminder that things weren't always like this. If the current trend of growth and urbanization is allowed (to continue), by 2020, 94 percent of the landscape will be concretized, said ecologist T.V. Ramachandra. Already, more than half of Bangalore's estimated 10 million inhabitants have to rely on borewells and tankers for their water because there isn't enough mains supply to go round. He says Bangalore has enough annual rainfall to provide water for its estimated 10 million people without resorting to borewells or rivers - if only it could harvest the resource more effectively. Despite years of drought, the government still provides clean water to citizens at heavily subsidized rates and access to groundwater is largely unregulated. No incentive In Bangalore 1,000 bottles of the cleanest treated water comes to our doorstep and we pay only six rupees ($0.09)... the incentive is not there, says A.R. Shivakumar, a senior scientist with the Karnataka State Council of Science and Technology. Despite this, Shivakumar and his family have not used a single drop of mains water in the 23 years they have lived at their home in Bangalore. Instead they rely entirely on rainwater collected through gutters and stored in large tanks under the house, which Shivakumar designed with water efficiency in mind. Even the cement used to build it was made with recycled water. This crisis will force everyone to take up measures like rainwater harvesting and water conservation measures, he said. Agence France-presse child size silicone wristbands
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President Xi Jinping's special representative Yang Jiechi (L) meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, March 30, 2018. Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the head of the General Office of the Central Committee for Foreign Affairs, held talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House in Seoul on Friday. [Photo/Xinhua] All parties involved should grab the chance and work together to make sure that Pyongyang's upcoming summit meetings with Seoul and Washington are successful and yield outcomes, President Xi Jinping's special representative, Yang Jiechi, told Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in on Friday. The Korean Peninsula situation is in a key phase for relief and improvement, and all parties should work to restart the substantive process to politically settle the peninsula nuclear issue, Yang said in a meeting with Moon at the presidential Blue House in Seoul. Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, was on a visit to the ROK from Thursday to Friday, and he reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to denuclearizing the peninsula. Moon said the ROK speaks positively of China's hosting of the recent visit by Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and it endorses China's constructive role in the peninsula issue and appreciates China's contribution to easing the tension. In another development, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will make a working visit to Russia on April 4 and 5 as President Xi's special envoy, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced on Friday. Analysts in the United Kingdom and Europe have hailed Xi's meeting with Kim in Beijing this week as a milestone in global denuclearization efforts, and they said China's proactive engagement with the DPRK demonstrates its growing influence as a responsible global power. During his visit to Beijing from Sunday to Wednesday, Kim reaffirmed his willingness to meet with US President Donald Trump and reiterated his commitment to denuclearization. China hopes, its seems, to play a critical role in ensuring that the talks between Trump and Kim will reach a satisfactory agreement and to avoid a failure of the talks in May that might in turn increase the risk of military action, said John Nilsson-Wright, a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the think tank Chatham House. The US has requested that the DPRK denuclearize but said it will retain all sanctions against the DPRK in the meantime. Although the DPRK has agreed to denuclearize, it also made clear that Washington should take reciprocal steps to remove the military threat against it. Within this context, China could act as a conduit, urging both sides to take reciprocal steps to achieve a middle ground, said Colin Alexander, a senior lecturer on political communications at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Francois Godement, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations' Asia and China program, said that China is taking a more visible position in keeping the Korean Peninsula stable, and its proactive engagement is positive for showing Pyongyang the importance of participating in international dialogue.
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