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The water woes

People in several parts of India are facing the problem of lack of enough drinking water. Women are forced to fight to collect and carry it in pots. Even cattle don’t get sufficient water. Many villagers have stopped farming and deserted their villages. Governments and NGOs are doing what is possible to alleviate the suffering.

Rain brings water, which flows as rivers. When there is deficiency in the rivers, people in the region through which they flow eagerly naturally extract as much as possible from it for their survival. Consequently, regions downstream are deprived of water to that extent and people there suffer. They then turn against their neighbours. Given the steady population growth, whenever rivers become deficient, per capita water availability drops.

Population growth in India has been phenomenal over the past several decades. At the time of Partition in 1947, the figure was 300 million, and today is about 1,300 million. Large numbers of skilled and qualified people are unemployed; sufficient health care facilities are not available. For want of other necessities people face difficulty but they manage. But when water becomes scare, it is difficult to survive.

It is everyone’s responsibility to conserve water. Before the rain comes, people should ensure that all reservoirs, lakes and other waterbodies, are maintained properly. Lakes face sewage inflow, garbage dumping and encroachments.

Simple math shows that when population increases and rainfall decreases, per capita availability is cut. It is the responsibility of every citizen, not just that of the state, to take steps to try and ensure that per capita availability does not get reduced.

So what should be done? Every married couple should decide to have no more than two children: the rule would be, “We Two Ours Two”. Thus population growth rate can be reduced and the per capita availability of water increased.

In this election season, when large crowds gather at rallies and meetings, it is an opportune moment to carry forward the campaign. The serious situation that is emerging owing to water scarcity makes it imperative for every Indian to fulfil the responsibility.

It is her and his duty to the nation.

secy@sreesumangala.com


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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 12:01:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-water-woes/article26830536.ece

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