True but unfotunately, it is no more a TRP enhancing headline news that even metropolitan towns like Delhi, Chennai, Banagalore or Mumbai are facing water shortage starting from the month of February till atleast the down pour of monsoon rain in June every year. Yes, people in many parts & ever enlarging parts of India do pray to Rain God to despatch monsoon a bit soon this time and every time. It is, however, an interesting fact that only 15% of rain water, if harvested & conserved, would be sufficient to take care of India's annual water requirements, but the hard and unfortunate reality is that water rationing in ever increasing number of cities is becoming a part of daily life. We all know, more than half of Maharastra is reeling under severe water crisis making the normal life of millions of common man unimaginably difficult. Ironically, some states including Bihar, UP though have huge water resources, but its proper management has been a conern area. Even the citizens of cities like Patna and Kanpur who should feel proud and privileged to be living in a place which is situated on the banks of Ganga - the great and most revered river of the country, are also facing shortage of water. Recently, one leading hindi daily had a headline news on problems being faced by Patnaites regarding supply of drinking water and Patna High Court's observations on that subject. Experts are of the view that if the state governments involve the people and take sincere steps to manage the water properly, it would not only be able to provide sufficient water to all citizens but can also ensure manifold improvement in real economic development of the state.
Before discussing the issue further, it would be fair enough to go through some frightening facts:
- Only 0.08% of earth water is drinkable, which too is getting contaminated with each passing day.
- Every year about 5 million people die due to consumption of undrinkable water all over the world.
- Only 5.58 lac Sq.km of area is irrigated out of total land area of 29.3 sq.km. in India.
- 17% of world population reside in India with 4% of water sources of the world.
- Indian Agriculture uses 69% of water, Industries 23% and rest 8% by Indian households & others.
- 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.
- The annual turnover of MNCs selling bottled water in India is Rs.28,000 crore which would touch Rs.5.6 million crore by 2025.
- Out of 6.38 lac revenue villages in India, more than 30% are water problem villages.
- 73% of respondents of a question as to what truly make them proud of being an Indian said, "It is availability of safe drinking water to every Indian."
We all know, water is Life. Jal Nahi to Kal Nahi . Man can't survive more than 3 days without water. Fresh portable water is already a precious commodity in many drier parts of India. Nevertheless, the true value of H2O is yet to be fully understood even by the educated segments of society who use water thoughtlessly. Yes, why to blame individuals only ? You must have seen blatant abuse & misuse of water in many Govt. institutions such as Railways, municipalities etc. and ironically enough, found to spend ( better read it 'Waste') lots of public money in the name of water supply & its management at the same time.That's why Vandana Shiva, the environmental activist says, 'I think the most pressing issue is really to bring back the culture for respecting water, for recognising its value.'