Mission Paani: Save Water, it Will Save You Later
The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated what might be a war over water, as we dump hoards of medical waste destroying water bodies and increase our consumption to stay hygienic.
Water gives colour, energy, and brightness to our dry and dull world. Have you ever wondered how life would be if, for just one day, there is no water? Every year on March 22, we celebrate World Water Day to raise awareness about the global water crisis, supporting SDG6 – Water and Sanitation for all by 2030. This year’s theme for World Water Day is “Valuing Water”.
Water covers almost 71% of this extraordinary planet that we live on. We have an abundance of this resource, so much so that every human being can have over 48 billion gallons of water just for themselves. Yet, we need to learn to “Value Water”. We face a looming crisis of water shortage and unavailability. Thus, there is a need to act immediately.
The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated what might be a war over water, as we dump hoards of medical waste destroying water bodies and increase our consumption to stay hygienic. Amidst a global health pandemic, 2 billion people across the globe lacked access to water and as such the access to basic hygiene.
While we consume water at a rapid rate, we are also failing to ensure that we keep the existing water bodies clean. Several water bodies, that are essential for the ecology, have been reduced to garbage dumps. Keeping water bodies clean and rejuvenating them could be one of the biggest challenges, primarily because of their intricate interconnectedness. If not directly as tributaries, every single water source of the world is connected to groundwater. Contaminating even one part can lead to another being affected.
With 21 out of 32 aquifers of the world almost dried out, our groundwater resources themselves are in danger. We’ve destroyed their natural replenishing mechanism by concretising the ground and are incessantly “mining” groundwater. Groundwater is a vital resource for our agrocentric economies and unfortunately, solutions like pervious concrete are redundant in regions near the equator (where it is needed the most) due to the high velocity of evaporation.
Technology too hasn’t been able to fully resolve our water woes yet. Desalination results in a bi-product called brine, which is currently being dumped back into the ocean harming the plants and animals. The entire process of taking in water and releasing the by-product back into the oceans completely disrupts and destroys the marine ecosystem while the plant adds to pollution. Being scarcely affordable and in limited regions, it is further deepening the inequalities. Maybe in future, the most rich and powerful would be the ones who have the most water assets. Moreover, with water being traded on Wall Street, nations will be valued based on their water resources putting us very, very low.
But there is hope. If each and every single one of us mindfully consumes our water resources, and takes only as much as we need, harvests and recycles, we might just save ourselves from a third world war and save this Universal Elixir of Life.
Garvita Gulhati is the founder of Why Waste?