Today the world is celebrating the World Water Day.The importance of drop of waters is known to all of us.In coming days,the drops of water will be more valuable than gold and diamonds. The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/47/193 of 22 December 1992 to create awareness about the importance of water.
In chapter 18 of Agenda 21 of the recommendations made by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) ,the initiatives to preserve fresh water has been clearly stated.
18.9.Integrated water resources management, including the integration of land- and water-related aspects, should be carried out at the level of the catchment basin or sub-basin. Four principal objectives should be pursued, as follows:
(a) To promote a dynamic, interactive, iterative and multisectoral approach to water resources management, including the identification and protection of potential sources of freshwater supply, that integrates technological, socio-economic, environmental and human health considerations;
(b) To plan for the sustainable and rational utilization, protection, conservation and management of water resources based on community needs and priorities within the framework of national economic development policy;
(c) To design, implement and evaluate projects and programmes that are both economically efficient and socially appropriate within clearly defined strategies, based on an approach of full public participation, including that of women, youth, indigenous people and local communities in water management policy-making and decision-making;
(d) To identify and strengthen or develop, as required, in particular in developing countries, the appropriate institutional, legal and financial mechanisms to ensure that water policy and its implementation are a catalyst for sustainable social progress and economic growth.
However,look at the fate of pathetic state of rivers like Ganga and Yamuna.These two rivers have acted as lifeline for northern belt but they have not only virtually dried up but also been polluted to great extent.One wonders how our government is fulfilling the initiatives laid down in the agenda of UNCED.
Apart from the disastrous climate changes,the commercial exploitation of these rivers has given rise to danger of total elimination of the river. According to one report ,the glaciers are melting fast. ‘
“Temperatures are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world…. In the short term, this will cause lakes to expand and bring floods and mudflows. . . . In the long run, the glaciers are vital lifelines for Asian rivers, including the Indus and the Ganges. Once they vanish, water supplies in those regions will be in peril.”
Even the findings of IPCC acknowledge the threat to river by global warming,especially flow of the water into Gangetic basin.I read an important report that explained how the Ganges is fast disappearing into an non-existent river.
The article says that projects like Bhairon Ghati I,Bhairon Ghati II,Loharinag –Pala and Pala – Maneri are sure to make Ganga a river of past.
“Nothing!! In the valley of her origin the Ganga will literally become non-existent. These projects entail diverting almost the entire flow of the river through tunnels drilled through the Himalayas. What is left is a dry river bed, with perhaps a small stream which is barely sufficient to wet the ankles. This is basically 2-3 cumecs of water, the amount stipulated in the ‘Environmental impact assessment’ as the minimum to be released. Practically what one sees is a narrow, shallow stream with fungal blooms at places, and this sorry flow is supposed to be the mighty, the Divine ‘Ganga river’
This is total violation of spirit mentioned in the Agenda 21 which talks about ” Integration of measures for the protection and conservation of potential sources of freshwater supply, including the inventorying of water resources, with land-use planning, forest resource utilization, protection of mountain slopes and riverbanks and other relevant development and conservation activities.”
I like to ask the policymakers is that the way to preserve our national river Ganga ? The World Bank has sanctioned loan of one billion dollar. I don’t know how effectively these funds are going to be used. I remember the fate of “Ganga Action Plan” that started in April 1985. It consumed more than 901.71 crore rupees over a period of 15 year.However,the face of the river Ganges remain unchanged.It’s still ” filled with chemical wastes, sewage and even the remains of human and animal corpses”.Ironically, Yamuna is no better.New Delhi may boast of being center of Indian government but when it comes to setting high standards like other major world class cities it stands nowhere.So cosmetic gestures of likes of Sheila Dikshit has made no significant difference to face of Yamuna there.
About the same Ganges,Swami Vivekananda writes that ” The Gita and the Ganga constitute the Hinduism of the Hindus“.But look at the way it’s disappearing from cities like Allahabad. In fact, many villages who used the water of Ganga via canals have gone dry.So in absence of water ,the farming has taken a backseat.
This led to emergence of tube wells.Now the ground water table is decreasing with each passing year. However, some noble measures like rainwater harvesting system has come to our rescue.
“The process involves storing rain water that falls within one’s premises and re-using it after basic treatment. By using equipment that is easily available, rain water is diverted towards existing underground tanks or terrace-fitted tanks and then supplied to the taps. Treated rain water is safe not just for cleaning and washing, but also for cooking and personal consumption.
Rain water that falls on the roofs should be harvested through a storage tank or recharged through an open well or a borewell in the building irrespective of the nature of sub-soil conditions. Rain water from open spaces around the buildings including gardens and parks should be harvested using appropriate ground water recharge structures depending on the nature of the sub-soil conditions.”
There are two options available for people. The first is collecting water and the other is ground water recharge. People are welcome to do both. According to the norms, every sq mt of roof area requires 20 litres of water storage. For ground water recharge, for every sq mt of ground area, 10 litres of storage or infiltration are required.”
It’s time to realize that every drop saved shall serve the cause of future generations.I see many people wasting water by washing their cars, by use of showers and excessive use of tap water. Let’s be conscious of our gestures and minimize the use of water in laundry,kitchen and bathroom.