Water Depletion: A Silent Killer

Global warming- is it an environmental problem or the environmental problem? Global warming has caught the attention of people across the globe and it is currently the issue against which countries are taking action. Most governments across the globe follow a reactive approach rather than a proactive approach. The importance of combating climate change was realised when the issue of global warming exacerbated to an extent that environmentalists started questioning the possibility of the existence of living beings in a few years from now. But the question that needs to be asked and answered now is whether global warming the only environmental issue?


Either the world is in a state of oblivion when it comes to other environmental issues or it considers global warming as the only environmental issue. Depletion of water resources – an environmental problem which can have serious repercussions in the years to come, seems to be an unimportant and a thoroughly neglected issue.


Reckless use of water in the last few decades has caused the emergence of the water depletion problem. The problem not only pertains to water itself but also entails certain other environmental issues that can be tackled by using water as a resource. Countries across the globe are trying their level best to meet a large part of the energy needs by harnessing resource- water. The increase in energy demands from industries and households and the inappropriate use of this energy has spawned discussions in the field of energy conservation. Energy conservation techniques in India are still in a nascent stage and it essentially requires two key components to be successful- First, the water for generating hydro-electricity so that a part of the energy demand is met and second, investments by private sector in the field of developing energy efficiency techniques.


It is important to remember that water is an indispensable part of our life. Our survival depends on water heavily. Reckless and inappropriate usage of water shall create an environment in which living beings would no longer exist. Such an environment is neither sustainable nor desired and will lead to genocide of its own kind.


The involvement of the government is imperative for tackling any national or world problem. Cessation of water depletion needs to be on the high priority list of the government. It needs to take some initiatives and implement certain public policies.


Government can boost private sector investments in the area of developing water conservation techniques by providing security to their investments and giving incentives in the form of higher returns. They should also coordinate with other governments so that each country can use water for purposes where it is essential. For example- If the government of Egypt decided to ensure food security by producing everything locally, then Egypt would require one more Nile to ensure food security. This is where the government should realise the importance of comparative advantage. Each country has an advantage in the production of some commodity or the other. If Egypt can trade something which they have in abundance for food it will result in saving “A NILE” and some limited resources that the other country possesses.


It is imperative for the government to ensure good irrigation facilities in the area of agriculture so that farmers can use the limited amount water efficiently. This will enhance farmers productivity and at the same time save a lot of water. A key area where I see the importance of the government being even more prominent is towards raising public awareness about this environmental issue. Government should conduct more workshops and public awareness campaigns so that the public can understand the enormity of the situation and start acting accordingly.


I hope this issue at least leads to some form of social cohesion in India where everyone realises the importance of water conservation. At the end of the day we are not owners of our land. We are just tenants and need to pass our land safely to the next generation and ensure at the same time that our progeny has a healthy environment to live in. It is definitely time for us to act against water depletion. Let us make the start today!


Keshav Parthasarathy

[Iamge courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevjblack/3377896583/]