Contrary to popular imagination, water resources have been misused rampantly in the urban centres, not rural areas
It is ironical that in spite of facing two years of successive droughts and water shortage, on March 22, Bengaluru was busy celebrating World Water Day in a routine and matter-of-fact manner, grossly neglecting water conservation measures.
Organisations, institutions and education centres held conferences and workshops where esteemed personalities talked about water conservation. TV channels, too, invited regulars to speak about the known causes of water pollution; be it Bellandur lake, groundwater or storm water. A major discussion also took place on the indiscriminate extraction of groundwater, which is said to be nearly four times more than the annual replenishment. This has resulted in 'static groundwater'’ resources hitting rock bottom. Groundwater is no longer a sustainable resource for the 1.8 to 2 million people dependent on it.
Although suggestions to revive depleted resources came in aplenty, those who had years of field experience and have conducted studies about Bengaluru’s water resource availability, management, the challenges ahead and remedial measures, seemed to have been neglected on World Water Day.
My visits to Karnataka’s villages and discussions with agriculturists show that even an uneducated small farmer is aware of the benefits of 'judicious use of water'. They are diligently implementing measures to avoid misusing water and, that too, without any advice. However, contrary to popular imagination, water resources have been misused rampantly in the urban centres, not rural areas.
It is imperative that those residing in urban areas are made aware urgently about water conservation measures. We also need to ask whether Bengaluru, which has no perennial water resources of its own, can afford to have swimming pools in apartment complexes. Irrespective of whether the source is rainwater harvested on a rooftop, groundwater, recycled water or treated wastewater; we need to know our priorities right.
Let us consider each day Water Day and judiciously use water. Man’s actions against nature have caused irreparable damage. A dedicated approach, thus, is the need of the hour.
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