Let’s Avert Another Day Zero Together
As we all know by now, due to the effects of climate change, pollution has created a great danger for drinking water. On one hand due to climate change the rainfall is affected and it also effects the water bodies, dams and ground water as they are not recharged properly. Whereas, on the other hand the limited resources on which population of lacs of people thrive is heavily polluted due to polluting land water sources. Because of these factors in India and world over the Major cities are facing water crisis, and the news and media are brimming with debates of how severe is these water crisis and what hardships people have to go through for water.
Here I would like to underline one particular issue. This issue originally did not arise due to climate change or pollution. However, they are in existence due to the failure of policies and international organizations which are made to safeguard water issues. What happened was, when water crisis issues began sprouting in urban spots, the whole world took notice of drinking water problems and took steps in that direction to solve it. However, the rural areas in some parts of India and the African countries along with the under developed countries had been facing the water issues and polluted drinking water since ages due to which they suffered many water born endemics, which the developed world ignored for a long time.
In these times, barring a few domestic organisations and activist, no international organisation even gave a thought in that direction. While only considering rural India, majority of tribal belts are in mountainous region, where during rainy season there is ample of rainfall. However, due to the irony of the land there which is rocky, the land does not absorb the water and it runs down through the slopes into rivers situated below. Because of this the scenario is such that by the end of March all the water sources dry up and the tribals have to rely on the traditional way of pulling out water from deep wells and looking at the condition of the ground water which is so much polluted that it is unfit for human use.
Which means, that a major part of the world’s population is fighting the water crisis even before the issue of climate change arose. The world has now woken to the water crisis now because now the urban populace is feeling the heat and facing water crisis. Though late, but It is never too late to begin with water management and avert the crisis. Now due to climate change, but the world organizations and municipalities have become alert on the issue of water and though slow but solid steps are taken with serious thoughts given to ease water crisis.
First time the major threat of water crisis issue was noticed, when Cape Town, the port city and capital of South Africa faced water crisis. That was in the year 2017, when due to continuous drought for 3-4 years, they were forced to declare “Day Zero”. Those were the years when the bottom of most of the water bodies / resources were easily visible. On that “Day Zero” Cape Town municipality did not give water to taps in the whole city even for drinking water and this was noticed worldwide and covered by media over the world and this is how the term “Day Zero” came into existence.
However, Cape Town gave primary priority to water crisis and now after 5 years the situation is such that Cape Town drinking water is considered one of the best models, even the residents of Cape Town became extremely aware, responsible and took the water scarcity issues very seriously. Is it possible to replicate models like Cape Town in every city, town and village? The people of Cape Town even got luckier because after “Day Zero” they also received regular and abundant rainfall in the coming years due to which their water bodies got recharged. However, the question remains, that what about those big cities where rainfall is already scarce and intermittent than before?
As per International reports, they have declared that, by the year 2050, cities like Nairobi, Sana’a, Karachi, Bengaluru and Mexico will face acute water crisis and may even face the consequences of “Day Zero”. Whereas, India’s Niti Aayog says that, by the year 2030 in India cities like, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, people will have to literally crave for drinking water. Moreover, Niti Aayog also observed another important aspect, that, most of the States of India are not taking the issue of water conservation seriously.
In such times where will the big cities go? The answer to this question can be found with the question itself, its never to late to wake up and get united to take steps, bring awareness and take the remarks of Niti Ayog as a serious warning. Thinking on those lines right away we would have to indulge ourselves in water conservation and that too on priority and with seriousness. And it is not necessary to conserve water only through the old and traditional methods, the government, municipalities too have to lay out policies and implement them strictly with rigid laws.
Because until people keep on thinking that our water reserves are endless and every year we get in plenty and don’t understand the importance of using it wisely, they will keep on wasting it. This is what general people think. Whilst some of the industries also go on polluting the fresh drinking water by their discharge in rivers, wells and underground water bodies without relent nor remorse. These industries should be charged with felony and conspiracy against the country. Afterall water too is the property of the Nation. If some industry in the name of development misuses the Nation’s property, it should face the penalty and legal charges.
Finally, at first sight these issues of crisis seem to be meagre things like beginning of cancer too starts with a little pain or small tumour, this is a fact. If we do not take the steps now and be lethargic, the time will come when crores of people will face “Day Zero” situation and then the condition will be out of control.
By Viral Desai
(The author is a known environmentalist and the Pioneer of Satyagraha Against Pollution movement.)