Want to help the environment? Here’s an affordable, easy, and devastatingly effective approach

Rita McGrath
4 min readOct 19, 2023

When it comes to challenges like climate change, it can feel overwhelming. After all, how much of an impact can any individual have on such a massive problem? Imagine my delight at finding out about an initiative which is already having a dramatic effect on global groundwater restoration.

The Global Groundwater Crisis

According to the United Nations, climate change is, at its core, a crisis of water. As they say, “From unpredictable rainfall patterns to shrinking ice sheets, rising sea levels, floods and droughts — most impacts of climate change come down to water water (UN Water). Climate change is exacerbating both water scarcity and water-related hazards (such as floods and droughts), as rising temperatures disrupt precipitation patterns and the entire water cycle (UNICEF).”

The global water crisis is rapidly becoming a global calamity — with extreme weather causing both severe droughts as well as sudden floods. With surface water not always handily available nearby, groundwater is where the real climate crisis is felt worldwide.

Lack of water, and especially groundwater, has been shown to increase rural poverty by 10%, childhood stunting by 20%, and forced migration by over 10%. In addition, lack of water disproportionately impacts women and girls — studies have shown that they waste over 200 million hours every day collecting water. India’s Groundwater Challenge

India is the world’s largest user of groundwater, extracting over 25% of the world’s scarce groundwater resources. This has led to severe water scarcity, which has caused poor crop yields, soil degradation, reduced farmer incomes, farmer suicides, and mass migration out of villages. One recent report found that “almost two-thirds — 63 percent — of India’s districts are threatened by falling groundwater levels. In many cases, this water is becoming contaminated. Worryingly, poverty rates are 9–10 percent higher in districts where groundwater tables have fallen below 8 meters, leaving small farmers particularly vulnerable. If current trends persist, at least 25 percent of India’s agriculture will be at risk.”

The JalTara Vision

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Rita McGrath

Columbia Business School Professor. Thinkers50 top 10 & #1 in strategy. Bestselling author of The End of Competitive Advantage & Seeing Around Corners.