Water ,water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.
These are the lines from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I was in school when I read or let me confess learned the poem by heart. I had won second prize in poetry recitation for this poem. My teacher had taught how a sailor on a becalmed ship is surrounded by saline sea water yet not a drop was there to drink. In 2019, the words are same just the situation has changed by magnitude. The character I see in no longer just in the pages of books rather real people. Day zero is approaching.
With the onset of monsoon, we start preparing with the flu shot. Cleaning around the house to avoid flies and mosquitoes. Many go for a shopping round too, with umbrellas, boots, raincoats and more. My toddler goes on jumping puddles every time we are downstairs. As a perk of staying with grandparents, he is having paper boat race too. News channels are loaded with reports of how rainfall has changed the daily life of people around the country. A week ago, the same channels were busy showing how heat is hurting people and all are waiting for rain eagerly. Every time I met anyone; they were complaining about how bad heat it is this year. And if I remember the same complaint about the heat was there last year too.
I was living in Pune water for 3 years. Once every fortnight (saying about least, at some places it happened every day) people around the society would complain how their clothes are yet to wash or how their domestic help can’t clean utensils thanks to water scarcity. Water tankers were hired to supplement people’s need. I won’t dive to the topic of water lobby here. The same societies used to hire water tankers on a particular day of March too. Though then WANT, not NEED, was something different. It was Holi and rain parties- water pools are a must. About 3 water tankers on average are hired by societies depending on the population. Sadly, the Holi players forget about those thousands of liters of water needed every summer.
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Last month on June 5th the world celebrated World Environment Day. We all spoke about the Cape Town water crisis and Day Zero. The impact of declining dam water levels on the economy, tourism, public health, and agriculture was discussed by leaders around the world. Many campaigns came forward like “Save like a local” for drought interventions. The end result is not yet seen, water scarcity is still prevailing. It hurts me that the same city has few of my best memories in 2015.
Why go to a foreign land and talk about water scarcity? May 2019 India suffered one of the hottest and longest heat waves. Death of over 184 people was recorded only in Bihar. There were more across the nation. In mid-June reports of Day Zero in Chennai became headlines. When Hollywood star Leonard Di Caprio highlighted the issue on Instagram, millions dived in the conversations. Now talks are going on how to act on the situation. But to think of it, is it just the lack of rain that made the metro run dry? Doesn’t mismanagement play a mammoth role here? Management run by governing bodies and people living around.
Can the situation still be managed? Yes and No.
Yes, the cities, town or villages in verge of going dry can still escape the horrors. No, the situation will go worse, if people would still just talk over tea, social media and other platforms instead of action.
How to avoid a future without water?
Monsoon is already here. A right time to save water, the rain water. As a matter of fact, few of the ancient water conservation methods like madakas, ahar pyes, taankas, surangas and more.
Shree Padre the Rain man of Canara Coast has devoted years of his life working on ways to conserve water using the traditional water conservation ways. In modern lifestyle we can adopt simpler ways to save and conserve water. One simple investment in our household by adopting Rainwater harvesting can save gallons of water. You can check FAQ here. Other than that, few practices can also save water in any season.
- Choose to bathe in bucket water over shower.
- Check for tap leaks and change leaky fittings
- Turn off water while brushing, shaving and cleaning utensils.
- Reuse rainwater for gardening, car cleaning, washing clothes etc
- Use dishwashers and washing machines in full load.
- Use broom to clean pathways instead of water pressured through hose pipes.
- Wash vegetables in a vessel instead of running water
- Save water from water purifiers and use cleaning household (mopping)
These little efforts would save litres of water every day. The saying of “Prevention is better than cure” fits perfectly here. If we conserve the rain water and save the available one in every household we can surely work on avoiding a future without water for next few years. But we can’t rely on only these steps alone.
As an aware citizen we need to help the government to dig nearby water bodies like ponds just before monsoon arrival and keep them clean. Avoid polluting them.
Let’s take these minimal steps to give a greener planet to our kids. Maybe this would be one of our best inheritance for them. They deserve a green environment.
Don’t you agree that Day zero is approaching? And we need to act