India’s latest water crisis belies the fact that the country has rich and varied resources of clean water, which have traditionally underpinned communal hygiene and sanitation practices. With 4% of the world’s stock of clean water, India has enough clean water, which must be nurtured. Among them are the 10,360 rivers that flow through the country, creating a flow estimated around 1,869 cubic kms. Not all of it can be accessed, because of structural inadequacies. But it shows the potential of our water resources to remedy the crisis, if theywere better managed.
A River Of Prosperity
The plethora of rivers in India represents an underutilized opportunity. Though many, like Ganga, Yamuna and Brahmaputra, are revered among local communities, there have been few efforts to salvage their health and safety, until now. Their steady contamination with human waste and industrial affluents has had adverse impact on those who depend on these rivers for their livelihood. Better management and upkeep of these rivers will, conversely, improve the lives of those living around them.
From Underground To The Mainstream
Another area where judicious water management can enhance people’s lives is in maintaining India’s groundwater levels. The country is the largest consumer of groundwater, which has brought a semblance of water independence to rural areas. But this unfettered use has resulted in sharp depletion of this water stock. Not only does this put people’s lives at risk, it also affects the productivity of our soil and farming operations. That’s why there’s a need to regulate the use of groundwater and help replenish it during seasonal rains.
Making Use Of Our Seasonal Bounty
Although climate change has already caused subtle shifts in weather patterns, India still receives consistent and abundant rainfall. All taken together, it amounts to nearly 4000 cubic kms of fresh water made available through precipitation. Even after sustained campaigns for rainwater harvesting, a lot of it still goes to waste. Better harvesting of rainwater can be one of the cheapest and easiest way to bring water security to large parts of the country. It’s a gift of nature we must not allow to be wasted.
Though India’s water crisis has become quite critical, an objective appraisal of its water resources show it can be solved through individual initiative and proper regulatory management. Maybe, this is the right time to put those enlightened ideas of conservation into action.
Mission Paani, an initiative by CNN News18 and Harpic India is leading a drive to save India’s precious water resources and make hygiene a way of life. You can contribute to the cause by taking a Jal Pratigya. Visit www.news18.com/mission-paani