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Wish list for 2013

S. Vishwanath
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If you want unobstructed water wealth, here are suggestions from water activist S. Vishwanath

This is the time of the year when you do a roundup of what went by but perhaps more importantly what can occur in the near future. Here then is a wish list for 2013 vis-à-vis water in all its forms.

We will all become water warriors – Let us imagine an active citizenry engaged daily in wise water use, water conservation, and solid waste management such that water is not wasted or the environment polluted by any one of their actions. It is not too difficult and as Gandhiji said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

The institution will achieve universal coverage – Each and every home in the city will have a water and sanitation connection, be it ‘pucca’ or ‘kutcha’, be it legal or not, be it in a slum or in a posh neighbourhood. Difficult? Not really if each ward of the city measures the connections achieved on a monthly basis.

The tanks in the city will all be revived – That every locality will have a clean expanse of water body to gaze at, to walk around, and to see the birds and that it will be a community property resource for all to enjoy.

The storm-water drains in the city will be cleaned – Sewage treatment plants distributed across the city will clean all the waste-water picked up by an efficient sewage line network. The treated waste-water will be let into wetlands which abut tanks and thence will fill the water body to the brim. Only rainwater from roads will flow in the storm drains.

Rainwater harvesting in every home – Rain barrels will dot every home and every apartment, collecting rainwater for supplementary use. Those buildings which cannot will collect rainwater in sumps or make recharge wells to allow it to go into the aquifer replenishing it.

Saying no to unnecessary borewells – The mad drilling of individual borewells will stop. Instead, a sharing of ground-waters through community borewells will happen. People will contribute to keeping these borewells recharged through individual point recharge structures in stormwater drains and within the plot.

Septic tanks and pit toilets – Those buildings not connected to the sewage lines will have well-designed septic tanks and pit toilets emptied at regular intervals by mechanical sludge removers called Honeysuckers. This removed sludge will be scientifically composted and reused as fertilizer to revitalise soils all across the city.

Looking at schools, colleges, anganwadis and hospitals – Special attention will be paid to these institutions which the young and the vulnerable occupy. Water and sanitation will be available 24/7, thus ensuring health, hygiene and water literacy.

Parks and playgrounds – Most of the parks will become tree-based instead of the water guzzling lawn-based parks. Each park will harvest its own rainwater correctly by linking catchment, conveyance and recharge properly.

Here is wishing us to become a water-sensitive city, to be achieved in this year itself. ‘You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one,’ as one Beatles number famously goes.

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