Water is ephemeral and though we see it everywhere, we have still not realized its importance in our daily lives. We continue to waste water, and now we are standing on the verge of a severe crisis. As I was writing this, I came across the news of water riots in Bundelkhand. The region is facing a drought for the fifth consecutive year. Rainless skies and soaring mercury have triggered water riots in districts like Mahoba and Banda, where cracked lands and cattle carcasses on the roadside have been a common sight for a while now.
The World Bank has warned India of an era of severe water scarcity and has said that New Delhi needs to make major changes in its water management policies.
“Unless dramatic changes are made in the way the government manages water, India will have neither the cash to maintain and build new infrastructure, nor the water required for the economy and people,” said the Bank in September 2006. It added that 70 per cent of India’s irrigation water and 80 per cent of its domestic water supplies now come from its rapidly depleting groundwater reserves.
The summer (this time we are having a Timely Monsoon) has set in and we are watching and reading the news of water scarcity in the various parts of the country. The heat is scorching and the rivers are not flooding with the water and it ultimately poses a serious threat. The situation is same everywhere, be it in rural or urban locations.
The Yamuna in Delhi, the Musi in Hyderabad, and the Adyar in Chennai have been reduced to filthy drains. Smaller towns have not been spared either. Ground water tables have depleted rapidly in states such as Delhi, Gujarat, Maharshtra, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. With the situation getting grim, one needs to realize the importance of conserving water. Water conservation has become the need of the hour.
Across the country, water authorities are challenging residents to cut their usage of this precious and finite resource. Saving water in small ways really adds up by the end of the day.
Little steps taken by all of us in the forward direction can be effective in conserving water. The one big solution is the rainwater harvesting. This essentially implies collecting rainwater on the roofs of buildings and storing it underground for later use. Not only does this recharging arrest groundwater depletion, it also raises the declining water table and can help augment water supply.
Scarcity of fresh drinking water is the biggest problem that we face today. Indian government has done little to address the massive water shortage problem and its impact on overall infrastructure of the nation. The experts have commented that the country’s population will outstrip the availability of water in the next four decades.
Make more and more people around you aware of necessity of conserving the water. Remember only one per cent of the world’s water is of use to mankind; about 97 per cent is salty sea water and two per cent is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. Thus, that one per cent of the world’s water supply is a precious commodity necessary for our survival. Dehydration (lack of water) will kill us faster than starvation (lack of food). Water has always been perceived as a gift from the god as it rained from the heavens – and now we must conserve it before its too late.