When environmentalists and water-conservationists say that water is blue gold, that it is precious and we need to save it, most of us turn a blind eye to their warning. The general tendency is to assume that since we’re getting water 24 hours 7 days a week, there is no water shortage and hence, no need for its conservation. Three words- WE ARE WRONG!
Although we do not realise the consequences of this crisis, with other ‘major’ issues like the plastic menace and global warming surrounding us and being the more regular topics of discussion, water shortage is the most pressing problem currently, especially in India. With every day that this problem is not catered to and disregarded by us like a trivial issue that is left unattended, it is getting bigger and more acute. And if we still don’t realise how big of an issue it has already become, here is a brief about what happened, and is still happening, in Chennai.Chennai went without a drop of rain for 200 days straight. People there are experiencing their worst water crisis in thirty years. People are fighting for water. House water supply has dropped to just 10%.
So yes, it is that serious. The citizens of Chennai are facing water shortage problems for real, and it is way worse to experience it than to just talk about it. The four major reservoirs supplying drinking water to the city have been reduced to just 1% of their capacity worth of water.
Now the question for people living in other parts of the world is, ‘Why should it worry us?’ ‘Why do we need to worry about what is happening in Chennai when we are living in Delhi, or Mumbai, or whichever city in the world?’. Well, as a matter of fact, this is not happening for the first time. It has happened before in Cape Town, South Africa.
It is predicted that 21 cities in India including, Delhi and Bangalore, are going to run out of groundwater as early as 2020. So it’s happening, and it’s happening fast, and the later we start working towards it, the bigger and tougher the task will get. I’m reiterating the point over and over again, but we have to realise that this is should be a prime concern at the moment. Not to say issues like illiteracy and poverty are not important and should not be addressed, of course they should, we need to shift our focus to this highly alarming concern which can soon have dire consequences.
On an average, a human being cannot live for more than 10 days without water. We literally cannot live without water, so what can be more important than finding a solution to fix this problem.
Now, once we realize that water shortage is an issue that needs to be catered to, it comes down to the question- ‘what can WE do about it?’. We the young adults need to work more on this problem and not use any excuse like ‘We’re just kids, what can we do’. For my generation, I’m going to suggest a couple of things we all can do to conserve water.
Firstly, and you might have heard this everywhere, but stop taking a shower, and use a bucket instead, to bathe. An average showerhead – even if it claims to be the kind that saves water uses 5-7 litres of water per minute. That means a 10-minute shower takes about 50-70 litres of water, not to mention the water wasted at the start of the shower while adjusting the water temperature. So if you take longer showers, maybe for 20 minutes or 30 minutes, or even longer, you are wasting a LOT of water.
The bucket, on the other hand, uses maximum of 20 litres of water, so even if you use 1.5 or 2 buckets, you use less amount of water. Now people might say it’s just 10 litres or 20 litres saved, but that’s for a day. Imagine saving that quantity water for a week (70-140 litres), for a month (300-600 litres) and even for a year (3,650-7,300 litres) per person. A family of four means around 20,000 litres. Now that is a lot. And every drop counts.
Secondly, I’m sure most of you have got an RO plant installed for clean drinking water at home. I’m not sure all of you know this, but for every 1 litre of filtered water that is produced, it discharges 5 litres of water which goes straight down the drain. The average human consumption of water is about 3 litres, so that means for your daily consumption of clean water, 15 litres of water is going down the drain. And if there are 4 members in the family, 60 litres of water daily or 20,000 litres a year going down the drain. And it is not like this water cannot be used. If we collect this water and store it, we can water our plants with it, we can wash our cars or clothes with it and we can do many more things with this large amount of water collected daily.
Coming back to the main point, water is blue gold. This problem needs our immediate attention and, if worked in the right direction, like other problems we have been able to resolve, water shortage can be tackled too. Prevention really is better than cure and it is up to us to either realise the seriousness of the problem and solve it, or face the unimaginable and unwanted consequences, and then try to fix it once it’s too late. And I am not saying that we should compromise on our basic needs- we shouldn’t stop drinking water or stop taking a bath. All I’m saying is stop using the shower, start collecting the clean water that’s going down the drain.
By all this I mean stop wasting water without compromising on your necessities while making sure you’re being sustainable. Wasting as a term literally means ‘to use or expend carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose’. So if you’re using water to fulfill your needs, you aren’t ‘wasting’ it; you are just using it because you need it. Just following these couple of steps means you, by yourself, save around 11,000 litres per year. And yeah, that’s you doing all this. That’s you saving so much water, on your own. That’s the change you can make, that’s the power you possess to change the world. In fact, that’s the power we all possess. And if we unite and start working towards this cause, there’s nothing but success on the other end and we can definitely make this world water-sufficient.