Thursday, April 3, 2008
Fight for water..
CHENNAI: Following escalating protests in Tamil Nadu over Karnataka’s opposition to the Hogenakkal drinking water supply project, bus services were suspended on the Udhagamandalam-Mysore route on Wednesday.
KSRTC buses were blocked in Sathyamangalam, Erode, and a restaurant was ransacked in Chennai. Panic gripped the busy commercial hub near the Madras High Court in the city after a group of persons, condemning outfits in Karnataka opposed to the water supply project, ransacked a restaurant on Armenian Street.
Although water is the commonest stuff on earth, only 2.53 per cent of it is fresh, while the rest is salt. And of the freshwater, two thirds is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. What is available, in lakes, rivers, aquifers (ground water) and rainfall run-off, is now increasingly coming under pressure from several directions at once.
So when shall we start waging wars for this precious commodity? I hear that there are MNC’s buying lakes so that they can use it for bottling water. I don’t know if lakes and rivers can be owned. But all I know is that we are not giving water its due respect.
Less than 3% of water is freshwater (much of it groundwater that has accumulated over time and is virtually nonrenewable. Rainwater is thus critical; the "global water cycle accounts for the only naturally renewable source of fresh water, that is, precipitation that occurs over land."12 Aquifer pumping is reducing our water resources. People living in arid regions, and even some not so arid regions, have been relying heavily on groundwater resources that accumulated over thousands of years. Removing this water at such rapid rates spends this resource many times faster than it can be replaced, leads to the deterioration of what water is left, and also can cause collapse of aquifers.
And in many states of India we have enough and more rain but yet we do nothing. We have filled up all the streams and paddies so that the water gets no chance to seep into the ground. Instead all those precious water is wasted in the vast oceans.
Rain water harvesting is the only remedy and it has to done urgently since we cannot reclaim all those lost ponds, streams and fields. Every house and commercial buildings need to have a rain water harvesting system built. The state needs to look into low cost options for the same.
WHO gives the following 10 facts on water:
World Water Day is celebrated every year on 22 March. The theme for 2007 is ‘water scarcity’. Even in areas with plenty of rainfall or freshwater, water scarcity occurs. Because of the ways in which water is used and distributed, there is not always enough water to fully meet the demands of households, farms, industry, and the environment.
Water scarcity already affects every continent and four of every ten people in the world. The situation is getting worse due to population growth, urbanization and the increase in domestic and industrial water use.
By 2025, nearly 2 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water shortage, where water resources per person fall below the recommended level of 500 cubic metres per year. This is the amount of water a person needs for a healthy and hygienic living.
Water scarcity forces people to rely on unsafe sources of drinking water. It also means they cannot bathe or clean their clothes or homes properly.
Poor water quality can increase the risk of diarrhoeal diseases including cholera, typhoid fever, salmonellosis, other gastrointestinal viruses, and dysentery. Water scarcity may also lead to diseases such as trachoma, plague and typhus. Trachoma, for example, is strongly related to a lack of water for regular face washing.
Water scarcity encourages people to store water in their homes. This can increase the risk of household water contamination and provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes - which are vectors for dengue, dengue haemorrhagic fever, and malaria and other diseases.
Water scarcity underscores the need for better water management. Good water management reduces breeding sites for disease vectors, which leads to reduced transmission of malaria, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis and Japanese encephalitis.
Millennium Development Goal number 7, target 10 aims "to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation". The world is still on track to reach the drinking water target, but increasing water scarcity may seriously undermine progress towards achieving this goal
Everyone needs water and everyone needs to take responsibility. Actively support governments, non-governmental organizations and private foundations which are making it a priority to deliver affordable good quality water to people.
Do your part by conserving, recycling and protecting water more efficiently.
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