Right now, Mumbai is struggling with heavy rains, causing severe hardship to millions of residents whereas Chennai is undergoing water scarcity where people are fighting for a few drops of water. This paradox in our country is just a trailer of the upcoming catastrophic water crisis. According to the latest studies, there will be no drinking water in India by 2040 if we move with the current pace. In June 2018, NITI Aayog has released a report ‘Composite Water Management Index’ in which it has listed Delhi and 21 Indian cities which would be run out of groundwater by 2020.
Causes of water Scarcity
The current crisis is the result of our never-ending greed and the misuse of natural resources for thousands of years. The indiscriminate cutting of trees and excessive misuse of natural resources has imbalanced the whole Eco-system which has caused a shortage of rainwater. Apart from this, the never-ending human waste is the predominant reason for water shortage. The present crisis is not only about a shortage of water but it’s about lack of safe and clean water. From discharging solid and liquid effluents by industries to throwing household waste by people, river water which is one of the prominent sources of water, is polluted.
Resource management plays a very important role in water conservation but there remains a serious lacuna in our planning and management. Saving water was never an important part of India’s policy, therefore lack of policy making and government’s apathy remains a serious challenge.
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THE WAY FORWARD
It is very unfortunate that even after 70 years of Independence, people in India are dying because of non-availability of safe drinking water. It is alarming that people in India, who forms 18% of the world’s population is living with just 4% of usable water sources. If the current pace continues we won’t be able to access even safe drinking water forget about fulfilling other requirements. Therefore, there is no doubt that water is already on the verge of extinction and there is nothing wrong in saying that:-
We are in the midst of a global freshwater crisis, and unless we manage our better now, we will run out.
Though for a scarcity like this, a well-planned policy with achievable targets is required but it’s only when everyone contributes towards saving water, we can overcome this crisis. It’s high time that every individual should inculcate practices in their daily lives which can save water. For instance- using a rainwater harvesting system or reusing rain-water, not throwing garbage in river water, taking short showers, closing tap while brushing, etc. These habits can perhaps look small but it can create a major impact in the long-run.
As World Bank, former Vice President has rightly pointed out
“If the wars of the century
Were fought over oil,
The wars of the 21st century
Will be fought over water”.