The Sticky Situation – Water Shortages in Summertime

Posted on April 26, 2010

Maria Thomas:

This summer is predicted to be immensely unbearable in Bangalore, a city earlier famed for its cool and refreshing climate. Across the country, many people are unaware of the subtle weather changes that have been occurring in Bangalore over the past few years and it is indeed tragic to note that what was once a comfortable city is now just another urban mess of pollution, traffic and shortages of electricity and water.

The water shortage is particularly alarming and most residential complexes have been forced to regulate the water supply to prolong its availability. Many in society have business acumen in spades and thus all water providers are over-pricing their supply, making it extremely difficult for the average middle class home-owner to even use the bathroom at his convenience.

To explain this climate of shortage, Bangalore has its policies alone to blame. Once renowned as the ‘city of lakes’, it now lacks many of its aquatic wonders thanks to lake reclamation that has facilitated the development boom in the city. The proliferation of IT firms and other businesses has resulted in a manic desperation for land that has allowed for some of Bangalore’s most valuable lakes to be filled in and built over. Lakes have been covered up to build both private and public institutions and it is thus difficult to find a concrete person to point a finger at when it comes to today’s dire lack of water. The city has effectively eliminated many useful water sources that could have helped manage the current situation successfully.

The shortage of water and the loss of lakes are together a great blow to the poorer residents of Bangalore who rely on lakes for their myriad of needs. The rising price of water in the city makes it impossible for people to afford enough water for their daily needs and this has made life extremely difficult. Unfortunately, we are ourselves to blame for this water shortage as we simply do not appreciate the value of water.

As much as we would all like to believe that we are doing as much as we can, the truth is far from it. Water wastage occurs in many ways but it is primarily due to the disinterest of the public. Domestic helps leave taps on without worry and everyone takes long and comforting showers without realizing how much damage they are causing. Unlike any other environmental issue, the management of water is actually one that is easy to solve provided everyone makes a few simple changes to their lifestyle.

It is definitely not hard to give up long showers in favor of using buckets; this procedure not only reduces your water consumption but teaches you how to use water responsibly. Recently my apartment complex ensured that a one liter water bottle was put inside every single flush tank in the complex so that each flush used one liter less than usual. Simple methods like this will help reduce the strain on our water supply and thus facilitate better living.

Desperation is a natural outcome and the sight of the drivers of water tankers bathing in the stream of the water carried in their vehicles is a truly painful sight that raises to mind the consequences of a permanent water shortage. As always, the wealthy and privileged will somehow manage to access enough water for their needs but it is the middle class and the poor who will truly suffer. Since most of us fall into these more regular categories, we should actively focus on reducing our water consumption so that we can avoid being acutely roasted in the hot months to come.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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