Revisiting Water Management: Peeking through Sustainability
Yesterday wars were fought over resources and metal, tomorrow wars will be fought over the essence of the blue planet; potable water. Today as the death knell tolls louder and louder, the need for conservation of water rings more pertinently than ever.
The concept of environmental protection has been imbibed within Indian culture and ethos since time immemorial.
Not only was the Vedic civilization, but even Indus Valley civilization equally aware of the importance of water, storage and judicious use of water. The Indus valley civilization that flourished along the banks of the river Indus had one of the most sophisticated urban water supply and sewage systems in the world.
However, with the advent of rapid industrialization, urbanization and burgeoning population; the most precious commodity, essential for existence; drinking water is on the verge of facing complete obliteration from the face of Earth.
In the near future, four million people in the city of Cape Town- one of Africa’s most affluent metropolises-may have to stand in line surrounded by armed guards to collect rations of the region’s most precious commodity; potable water.
Population growth and a record drought, perhaps exacerbated by climate change, is sparking one of the world’s most dramatic urban water crises, as South African leaders warn that residents are increasingly likely to face “Day Zero.” That’s the day, previously projected for mid-April but now mid-July, when the city will be forced to shut off taps to homes and businesses because reservoirs have gotten perilously low- possibility officials now consider almost inevitable.
The issue of global water scarcity, the albatross around the neck of global leaders, if not solved suitably may become the bone of contention and wars may be fought over its equitable distribution.
Closer home, recognizing the looming perils of water scarcity; ambitious interlinking of river projects of transferring water from water surplus to water deficit regions will get a new impetus.
Other incidents reflecting the severity of the issue are; the ongoing conflict between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the sharing of waters of the Cauvery River, the opposition put up by Punjab against sharing of river waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana citing riparian principles and the Delhi and Haryana government’s inability to see eye to eye regarding who gets what of the water from the Munak Canal.
Looking at the brighter side, the Sun has not set on the horizon of a brighter, more secure tomorrow. We can save the cookie from crumbling by joining hands in the endeavour to conserve precious water resources;
· Purchase water-efficient products and appliances for one’s home.
· Check for leaks.
· Insulate one’s water pipes.
· Take shorter showers.
· Carry out rainwater harvesting wherever feasible.
· Use a layer of mulch around plants which will help in moisture retention.
· Minimize the amount of time spent watering the lawn.
· Use brooms or other tools to clean gutters instead of the water hose.
· Using a water sensor is a smart idea.
· Don’t let the water go down the drain while you are waiting for the temperature to adjust when taking a bath.
“Circa 2050, she sat by mother Ganges,
Cradling the pot that held the mortal remains of her mother…
Her last wish had been to be scattered away on the revered, liberating waters of the Ganges,
Attaining moksha, liberation from the unending cycle of birth and death.
Staring at the dried-up riverbank,
She thought about all the times,
She had taken the water in the rivers for granted,
Assured of the flow in the tap every morn she woke…
The flow slowly turned to a trickle
Even then she refused to pay heed…
Wiping the tear that flowed down her cheek,
Feeling like an utter failure for having left her mother’s desire unfulfilled,
She got up to leave…”
As they say, a stitch in time saves nine, let us not miss the wood for the trees and redeem our future from imminent degradation by saving our water resources and ensuring sustainable development.