World without water

The idiom A lot of water has flowed under the bridge may convey wider message than in incidents which occurred in the past and no longer has any importance. One such incident provides the context in which a person disclosed that his wife had an affair with her boss, it is all water under the bridge. However, in the current context of scarcity of water for drinking and other needs of daily life, particularly in urban spaces, the elixir of life cannot be taken lightly any longer. The only time residents of cities show concern about water is when the taps in their kitchens and, more shockingly in toilets run dry at dawn. Water through pipes has been flowing in Mysuru for nearly a century and that convenience has been taken for granted with disdain. The occasional press release from the civic administration of the city notifying disruption in water supply due to technical reasons may yield to the same administration issuing press release with the message that water would be supplied on one day in a week, if not less frequently.

Regularly published information in this daily on the declining stock of water in the two reservoirs, one at Krishna Raja Sagar dam and the other at Kabini dam, followed by the advisory from civic authorities to use water only for essential purposes has fallen on deaf ears of the city’s residents at large, given unstoppable practice of water being generously used for washing the front yards of houses and cars, a common sight in posh residential areas of the city. The Inspectors, instructed to monitor the frugal use of water, are nowhere to be seen.

The total daily requirement of water per person is suggested to be 160 litres, a figure that sounds luxurious and dream-like to millions of residents in the villages across the country and also in many regions across the world. Some tribal communities in Africa are known to survive with barely a handful of water which they manage to get by squeezing scrapings of roots dug out from the ground. The fact that women and children of lakhs of villages in the land walk long distances daily to fetch water to meet the family’s water needs, even in hot weather conditions should change the mindset of urbanites from taking water for granted to pro-actively conserve the gift of nature. Given their present uncaring outlook to consuming water, no wonder if they had pumped out all the water of seas and oceans if its salt content was not 35 parts per thousand !

Discussing on water-related issues in drawing rooms of the urban cognoscenti and meetings of bureaucrats in government offices recognising the imperatives of rainwater harvesting and safeguarding water bodies, both above the surface of ground and below needs to be translated into action. Or else, the portends point towards a world without water!!

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