Today is Earth Day(22nd April 2016). One of the most important resources on earth is water.
The sad news is that it is becoming a fast depleting resource these days.
Increase in population and the resultant increase of human consumption of water,has depleted water resources worldwide.India,on account of its massive population,has become one of the countries struggling to meet the water needs of its people.
How bad is the water shortage in India can be gauged by looking at a few examples.
Ground Water Level Decrease
We don't need statistics to tell us how the ground water level has decreased.
When we moved in to our new apartment some five years back,we didn't have any water problems.Like most of the developing areas in Bangalore,we did not have access to the Corporation Water Supply.However,we had ample ground water.Being close to a lake also helped.
Now with many other buildings being built in the area,and with each building,having its own bore well,the ground water level has decreased drastically.So there is lesser water in our flat's borewell and consequently,lesser water is available for our consumption.
You can hear similar stories in any major town or city in India.
Less Water in Rivers
Added to the problem of depleting ground water,we also have lesser flow in major rivers.
Recently,had been to Madurai.It is the time of Chitirai Thiruvila( Festival of the Chitra Month). As per tradition,Kallalagar,comes to witness his sister's wedding.He has to cross the Vaigai river to attend the wedding.Kallalagar's descent into the Vaigai river is celebrated with much fanfare.I don't remember my grandmother lamenting about lack of water in Vaigai river.But today's scenario is different.
Vaigai river is dried up.For the past few years,authorities have not been able to release water even from the dams.It seems they store water in a large tank and release it at the time of the festival,so that the deity can descend into the water.It is sad that even the Gods cannot enjoy the luxury of copious river water.
It is not only drinking,cooking,washing kind of domestic chores which get affected by water scarcity.Scarcity of water affects all aspects of our life.Recently,the Shivanasamudra power stations in Karnataka were in news-for the wrong reasons.Shortage of water in KRS dam has forced the power stations to shut down.This is a sign of things to come.
Water Mismanagement in Urban Areas
Unplanned and illegal construction on water bodies,illegal sand mining in river beds,pollution of lakes,waste blocking the canals-all these are contributing to water mismanagement.Water mismanagement not only results in shortage of water for consumption,it is also an important cause for disasters waiting to happen.This phenomenon was observed in the recent Chennai floods also.
Water Mismanagement in Rural Areas
It is not only urban areas.Rural India is also bearing the brunt of water scarcity.Deep bore-wells sunk for agriculture are depleting ground water resources in rural areas.Use of pesticides and effluents from industrial wastes are polluting the water bodies.Pollution makes lesser quality water available for agricultural purposes,in turn increasing the demand on water.
Tanker lorries supplying water to urban areas is already a familiar sight in most Indian cities.What comes as a surprise is the news that lemon farmers in Karnataka are employing tanker lorries to safeguard their crops.They have to pay through their nose to pay the tankers.This is another instance of rural India suffering from water scarcity.
River Water Sharing
Water wars are imminent in the near future on account of scarcity in water catchment areas.Already,the Supreme Court of India has to hear lot of cases about sharing of river water between different Indian states.Day by day,the situation is only worsening.Sharing of river water has also become an emotional and political issue,threatening the peace and harmony of our people.
Water sharing issues are not confined to Indian states alone.River water sharing is a cause of concern for India with almost all its neighbors,especially Nepal and China.Both these countries have common rivers flowing into India.
Less water quantity in rivers can be linked to global warming phenomenon as well as local water mismanagement.The second point is well within the control of our governments and can be easily implemented if there is a political will.
To save water at micro level,water saving measures are to be adopted.
Examples of Water Saving Measures
1.Measures to improve ground water level,like rainwater harvesting,must be adopted in every building
2.Simple measures to prevent water wastage.Example-close taps properly.
3.Advanced agricultural practices to be adopted to ensure less water consumption-like drip irrigation
4.Innovative water conservation measures to be adopted
These pictures explain some innovative water conservation techniques
So this Earth Day,let us Pledge to Save Water for Ourselves and Our Future Generations