O Water, when your invigorating essence goes to one affected by weakness, it enlivens him,
O Water, you are the source of our lives.
(Asmaa Aram Gamaama Vo Yasya Kssayaaya Jinvatha
Aapo Janayathaa Ca Nah)
- The Apah Suktam in Rig Veda
Water is revered as the quintessence of life in India, since primeval ages. At times, when severe water scarcity looms large on the horizon, revisiting the hymns of the age old vedic text about water make sense.
The last few months, witnessed the majority of in India reeling under the scorching summer and severe deficiency of water making the lives of people at large, disturbed. However, a few states boasted the record monsoon of the recent times, giving signals for a water rich year ahead, despite the fact that the flooding rivers did disturb the people's lives, even claiming about hundred lives, in Kerala alone.
The NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of the Government of India In June 2018 came out with something which, exemplifies the legacy of water reverence proclaimed by Vedas.
The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI), released by the Aayog in June 2018, in their own words “is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive scorecard for identifying, targeting, and solving problems in the water sector across the country”.
The facts shared by the CWMI are alarming for all who revere water as the essence of life. India is undergoing the worst water crisis in its history. Already, more than 600 million people are facing acute water shortages. Critical groundwater resources – which account for 40% of our water supply – are being depleted at unsustainable rates. It means, life is turning out to be impossible if the present state of water usage is allowed to go on.
The reports says “droughts are becoming more frequent, creating severe problems for India’s rain-dependent farmers.” Remember a major part of the country’s agriculture is rain-fed. Up to 70% of our water supply is likely to be contaminated, which results in nearly 200,000 deaths each year.
Within India many states are at logger heads due to water. Interstate disagreements on the share of river water, are on the rise. Currently seven such disputes are on, pointing to the fact that the current water frameworks are insufficient for future needs of national water governance.
The facts shared by the CWMI alarms us of the fact that 40% of people will not have access to water by 2030 as estimates indicate that “India’s water demand will exceed supply by a factor of two by 2030”. Twenty one cities including New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad will run out of water by 2020, affecting hundred billion people. Six per cent of GDP will be lost by 2050 due to water crisis.
The time has come to spread the spirit of the hymn the Apah Suktam to each one of us. Because water is the source of our lives and it is getting depleted. Lets hope that the initiative launched by NITI Aayog under CWMI would help us to address the issue,. Pl see a detailed presentation on CWMI in the following link: http://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/new_initiatives/presentation-on-CWMI.pdf
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