Oftentimes, a host of things are blended with water, say it water ‘stress’, water ‘scarcity’, water ‘pollution’, water ‘efficiency’, water ‘deficiency’, water ‘treatment’, water ‘management’, water ‘shed’ and ‘water table.’ There are prefixes too – ‘packaged’ water, ‘mineral’ water, ‘ozonised’ water, 'RO' (reverse osmosis) water and and the odorous 'sewage' water, what not? The water USP flows as ‘spring’ water, ‘mountain’ water, ‘natural spring’ water so on and so forth! A plethora of divergent prepositions are getting hobnobbed on behest of the consumers, state, not-state actors as well as business community, around water.>
Recently, we found one of the senior managers, heading a drinking water project with a state government, in a fix. He queried us for a common thread to connect such an exhaustive list of water “blends”, which he has tagged in his project file. We suggested him the tag “Water and Sanitation to All,” ‘the SDG 6’ (United Nations -Sustainable Development Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all)- can be the common thread for all the water blends, which was pondered by him. After baffling for some time to find a common thread to develop a multi-stakeholder advocacy plan, he seems happy now. “Water and Sanitation to All” the ambitious water mark, under SDG 6 set by the UN is being chased by the world through umpteen routes, so as our friend.
Needless to say that UN has this time, has done a commendable job by directly putting “Water and Sanitation to All,” as one of the SDGs. Like all other water enthusiasts we are also the in agreement with the six targets set by UN under the SDG 6. However, we personally are more convinced about the first three, which is really relevant for a developing economy like India. The three targets more or less addresses the many issues blended with water; here it goes:-
- By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
- By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.
- By 2030, expand international co-operation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, waste water treatment, recycling and reuse technologies.
Now, whether targets make any difference, for the policy makers of water? In fact, many friends at the Water resources ministry at Centre once told that, the SDG6 targets are one of the most magnanimous challenges that they have ever faced! It has a target of 2030. The targets that we missed after spending lakhs of crores since independence needs to be chased in 15 years!
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