Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Drought of Water or Will Power?

In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference... Rachel Carson.

The famous American Marine Biologist most of whose life has been spent in water has picked the nerve in few words which are perfect when we see the present drought scene in our State. In recent I attended two conferences on the subject which is talk of the State, both has been organized by reputed media news publishing houses. And let me confess I am neither an expert on water management nor an agriculturist yet I had been there as an engineer & representing urban developers who creates homes & water is inherent part of any home! The agenda was common though the scale was different. Many speakers were common & so was the issue i.e. Drought of 2013! A lot has been talked as well written on this by now & still news papers are carrying the stories of drought hit areas. Sad part is on one side so much is being published yet those who have it in abundant are either deaf or blind or all senses have been dead. I am making this statement in context of the people who live in cities as well for rulers who make the policies & supposed to work on them.

Some where we are repeatedly failure on certain issues related to basic infrastructure of the society & they are affordable homes, traffic, good road, water, hygiene or public health & education. Out of above all list the failure wasn't that strongly taken or reacted by the common man as we can do without roads, education, public health & even home of our own but when it comes to water there is no substitute! Here I remember a dialogue from a famous old movie Wakt...
 " Samay suabse balwan hota hai, har kisiko ek satahpe le aata hi, uske same koi jada ya kum takdwar nahi"  i.e. "Time is a great leveler & it makes all feel equal as no one is more powerful than time!".  Well here water has taken the place of time, making all segments in society equal by not being available to any of them, such is the situation in many districts of the State. However rich a person may be but he too has to search for a gallon of water in the same way like a poor guy has to, is the fact & as usual right from Govt to media all are reactive. Why we fail to be proactive is a question which always haunts me.

Take the present drought situation, it hasn't happened in single night, we all know that most of our rural are depending on rain fall for agriculture as well drinking purpose & rain fall is something only Gods control. All we can do is utilize whatever he gives us to the last drop. This is very basic of water management may it be urban or rural & one need not have to be an expert for knowing this. Then what are we doing all year long when we have enough rains is my next question? The failure is there as drought is a fact so whose failure is this? Govt, Politicians, Media, Bureaucrats, well to me it’s every bodies failure. As well all have been neglecting our responsibility towards the cause & end result is a worst drought of history. As everybody is pointing now the difference between other earlier droughts & this one is, there is enough food around as well jobs & money but no water! Its single point drought i.e. scarcity of water & which is being reflected on issues related to it such as food for animals i.e. grass & the next effect is going to be more long lasting & that is reduction is production of crops. Also many questions are still unanswered like this is just end of April, the full fledged rains starts after mid June so what till then & what if the rains are not enough this year too? We are really totally off guard on this front & have paid for our negligence.

There are departments like Irrigation, Water Supply, Environment, Rural Development, Ground Water Survey, Agriculture, Revenue, Forest & Urban Development & equal number of authorities for running these departments show but no single control on the subject as important of water especially its conservation & use. Why can’t be there only one authority to decide the policy of water management & works related to the cause. Here all above mentioned departments are some way or other responsible for present drought condition & now nobody is taking responsibility of the situation. Sending water tankers & building "Chara Chavnis" ( grass shelters i.e. providing grass for the cattle's) is not accepting responsibility neither giving package to drought hit areas is, rather that's patch up on the wound. We need to take proper measures which will be long lasting & full proof. No one is saying that Govt is responsible for less rain fall, though some where deforestation & loss of green cover is surely has its impact on rain fall but major failure is because of not making a proper policy for utilizing every available drop of water & executing the policy accordingly that too till root level.

Drinking water for the Metros like Pune & Mumbai is a major subject as all around urban population is increasing & this population need lot of water for their daily use & no one denies that but who ensures that the water supplied or reserved for this population is being utilized judiciously as we are unable to make a metered water supply like basic thing in these cities? Rain water harvesting or water recycling, these terms are just on paper as even PMC's drainage treatment plants are not functioning to their fullest is an accepted truth. And the condition is true all around the State so why blame just builders or common man for wastage of water? The rivers which were used to run even half full few years back now either running dry or so much polluted due to Cities on up-stream that it’s the nuisance for people on down streams to live along them. Who is responsible for situation like this is the question?

We are in 2013 & in thousands of village or hundreds of towns there isn't any perennial water supply scheme is a fact & we call our self advanced State! Who is responsible for this? Why can't we make a module first in each region categorizing the areas as per average rain fall as well geography & study this as a proto-type water model, study its outcome & then repeat the module all along the region in time bound program. As this problem doesn't have a single point answer like Crosin tablet works on any headache! Rather water is not the problem, water is the solution, problem is our attitude looking at this solution is what we need to understand. This drought is just tip of the iceberg is what I personally feel as if we don't wake up & act then the real drought & its aftereffects are yet to be experienced. Already there are fights over the water amongst the people in adjoining districts & towns who were happy neighbors for years! The day won't be long that these fights get converted in to riots all around the State & then it will be too late for everybody. It’s high time to check our attitude towards use of water & responsibility is more with those who are fortunate to have water in abundance. Here the needle points to the Metros who have perennial water supply schemes as well the dedicated source of water.

Lastly let’s understand that we all have a role to play in this war against the drought. Helping in any way to the drought hit people is just one side of it, but not letting such situation arise should be the main goal of each of us. At least if we learn this much then the God will be happy that some wisdom is still alive in the so called wisest specie he has created! As it’s not the drought of water but of will power to fight with it!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune
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