Saving water will bring happiness in life
Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna used to say, ‘Cutting down trees causes mountain rocks to fall, soil to flow down, water sources to dry up and medicinal plants to be destroyed. Deforestation is reducing rainfall, which is having a detrimental effect on agriculture. If you want to make the mountains happy, you have to make the water and the forest happy.
In this context, recall the ‘National Water Policy 2012’, which is still applicable today. These include protection, conservation, growth, per capita water availability and interstate, inter-regional water allocation and climate change. Given the tensions between the water states, agreeing on a water policy was as difficult a task as climbing Everest. Examples are the Cauvery Water Dispute, Punjab-Haryana-Delhi, Rajasthan Water Dispute, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh Indra Sagar Dam Disputes, Madhya Pradesh, Ken-Betwa Disputes in Uttar Pradesh. Every state is aware of its water rights. At the same time, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan are also interested in our water policy. Even with these countries, our water problems are stuck.
18% of the world’s population lives in India. We have only 4 percent of the world’s usable water. We have only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area, where all human activity takes place from forests, mountains. The challenge is huge. With 4 per cent water and 2.4 per cent land, we want to meet the food, shelter, development work, clothing, drinking water, agriculture, sewage and environmental needs of 18 per cent of the population. The role of the states in this direction is extremely important.
India receives 80% of the total rainfall during the 4 months of monsoon. India is the only country in the world where 90% of the rain water flows from outside and goes to the sea through rivers. In such a scenario, India needs to collect 50 per cent of the monsoon rainfall in groundwater reservoirs, reservoirs and lakes, as well as divert rainwater from rivers without rainfall.
Some parts of the country are prone to heavy monsoon rains, such as the northeastern and central Himalayas. Delivering monsoon water to non-monsoon areas here is a major national task. These are the answers to both floods and droughts. The country needs to create a comprehensive national program of rainwater harvesting. Kasturirangan, a renowned scientist in the country, has recently submitted a worrying report on the availability and distribution of water. The NITI Commission report says that 60 per cent of the country’s population is facing water scarcity. About 2 lakh people die due to lack of water every year. We are ranked 120th out of 122 countries in the world in terms of water quality. The country’s available water is 70 per cent contaminated and is steadily increasing. Constantly declining groundwater levels will destroy the agricultural-based systems of many states. This crisis is visible in many parts of Punjab. Water demand will double by 2030, a strategy is being devised to deal with that situation, but nothing like that appears on the ground. A silence has spread. Sometimes the news of a drinking water crisis in some areas breaks the silence.
The good news is that in 2015 there is a campaign to make leather in the forest. But the welfare of Uttarakhand is in the collection of water drops, which is a symbol of prosperity. The water bonus can be an attractive and important factor in converting the water conservation declaration into a mass campaign. Every village, every house itself can be a part of this campaign. It is also possible to solve the drinking water crisis in this way.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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