Parched lips, with a touch of salt,
Back then we knew at heart,
Cracked, scorched, and torn apart,
Blood will flow to a rusted halt,
This is the doom of human race,
Drawing near at a speeding pace,
Transparent gold will soon be a haze,
Something that paper can never encase.
Yes! This is the inevitable catastrophe that is already marching up our drive way. We humans have handed over the future of our existence to a deep footed sink hole. Statistics by various researchers from all corners the world proves that 21 out of 37 world’s largest aquifers are hard pressed for water. Moreover increasing demands from the domestic and industrial sectors are likely to worsen the scenario.
Water scarcity is not new in the world. While some countries still do not feel their absence, other thousands of people die dehydrated. Many sources of freshwater have disappeared and many have been contaminated. Since water is the elixir of life, its fast depletion has put the planet in a perilous stage. If the former international conflicts were aroused by the cavernous desire for land and oil, the proximate cause of dispute would definitely be for fresh water. If oil was black gold, then water is the transparent gold. Hence man will do anything to get this precious liquid.
The exhaustion of the water resources began decades ago, and various human activities are to be blamed. The hyper land use, deforestation and overgrazing are some of the causes that have led to the depletion of the potable water sources. This has also led to a disturbance in the water cycle thereby causing an imbalance in the environment.
Rajendra Singh known popularly as the ‘Water Man of India,’ believes that the critically depleted aquifers around the world can be revived with community effort. For the past 32 years, through his NGO ‘ Tarun Bharat Sangh,’ he has led community based water harvesting and water management initiatives in the arid, semi- desert Alwar district of Rajasthan.
But governments usually don’t support community initiatives. They only support big projects under the pretense of combating issues like desertification or rejuvenating the landscape. There is no community participation in these projects as the work is left in the hands of contractors. It thus becomes a contractor driven democracy and not people driven democracy.
If we begin to think about legal changes, we have to first think about river rights or the rights of the nature, and only then about water rights for humans. This type of thinking doesn’t exist today. But we are in high needs of such a legal frame work that assures that the land of the river is only for the river and that the flow of the water is kept clean and that the river has greenery on both the banks to prevent erosion and silting. Only with all these factors can we ensure that the river is healthy and only then that we are healthy.
Powerful corporations have created a water market- they pollute our rivers and make us pay money for drinking water. They say that only with a high price for water can we get a disciplined usage. This is in no way correct. In a handful of regions (mostly villages), their own panchayat has made rules and regulations that everyone has to follow. This ensures that everyone gets enough water. The quality and quantity remains enriched. Sustainable community led water management system has existed for thousands of years, without putting any price on water. Privatization is not the answer nor is charging more.
Coming to the point at hand that only 3% of the water available is potable and the majority of the 3% lies in polar caps, only one fifth of the world’s population has access to drinking water, which leaves behind thousands of millions of people in unsanitary conditions. The majority of the population without access to fresh water live in countries in process of development, that is to say, those who are suffering the negative consequences of the lack of water resource and possibly suffer in the future, even coming to talk about regional and national wars.
Despite the above factors, it is perfectly conceivable in a war over water. It should be noted that current wars are already occurring at the regional level for this reason, such as Jordan River in the Middle East and the Blue Nile River in Egypt. Disputes have been stirring in various parts of India predominantly in the south. The major dispute revolves around the Cauvery river bringing into conflict the states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka . In the Middle East this has led to refugee crisis, tension conflict and terrorism. Long time ago Syria flourished in agriculture, but then Turkey built a dam and things took a downward plunge for Syria. If we want a safe future we must start conserving.
When man fell into the reality of the situation and the consequences of their reckless actions, he realized that he must find a way to stop this fatal phenomena. Thus many scientists devoted themselves to task of investigating new ways to treat water, they have found industrial and domestic methods to treat water, but in the near future these methods cannot hold the fort.
Homes will be torn apart, cities plundered, nations will rage, the world will be adrift in fire for the third world war is right at our gate. It will be for every drop of water that we take for granted now. The choice is now ours, solve the crisis or pay back nature with our lives!