WORLD DAY FOR WATER, THE ELIXIR OF LIFE
The world celebrates March 22 as World Water Day. Water which is vital to all living organism is as necessary and responsible for human life on earth as is air. Though our planet is filled with more than 70 percent of water, only a small percentage of it is fresh water, in fact fresh water is scarce for human use. World scientists are searching for water on the moon but what about water resources on our own planet?
Global warming and climate change have a debilitating impact on the existing water resources affecting life of millions of people throughout the world. Due to increase in normal temperature, the glaciers which are the big source of fresh water are melting at very high rate. Due to urbanization and deforestation water table is depleting rapidly. The ground water is being exploited on the one hand and on the other hand water keeps flowing towards the sea resulting in rise in sea level by 1 cm over a period of 5 years. The water which is consumed by the ocean should be in the soil for crop cultivation and human consumption as ground water.
Scarcity of water has assumed threatening proportions in many parts of the world. In India situation is worse. Supply of water by water tankers is a common site in big cities. As per World Bank Report, in1997, the water level in India was around 550 Cubic Kilometres out of which surface water was around 310 Cubic Kilometres. The level has come down to 480 Cubic Kilometres in 2010 and is further going to drop to 360 Cubic Kilometres in2020 and less than 100 Cubic Kilometres in 2050.With growing population of the country per capita consumption is also increasing .The water crisis is imminent. Most of the States are already in throes of water crisis; even a few States have been fighting over sharing of water. Impact is more visible as we largely depend on rainfall for water. Our Agro based economy mainly depends on Southwest monsoon. 80% of rainfall is on account of monsoon. Indian agriculture which accounts for around25%of the country’s GDP and employs nearly 70% of the population is heavily dependent on the rains. A delay of few days in the arrival of monsoon cast shadow of dismay on the prospects of food grains.
Sensing the magnitude of the problem which is water crisis the need for water conservation cannot be overemphasized. It is human instinct to find solution for life threatening problems as it becomes a question of survival of the human race. Efforts are already on for devising ways to conserve water resources though in different ways depending on the ecology of the regions. Rain harvesting has been practiced in India for centuries to conserve water, in ponds, ‘bawlis’, underground tanks etc, however, in the past few years there is renewed emphasis on rain harvesting by the Govt.
While the Govt is doing its bit, the environment education is necessary for everyone to be aware of the challenges related to environment like impending water crisis as it will affect the future of our families and the humanity. The world community perhaps would appreciate the scientists searching water on the moon to find cheap technology to convert sea water into potable water.