Nearly a billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water and if the governments and the community do not care, the number of those who would be badly in need of potable water could swell to a mind- boggling 2.5 billion just in 25 years.
In India millions struggle to get a pitcher of potable water. But there is another India where people tend to waste and contaminate it just because it is easily available. These two extreme cannot co-exist.
It has been disclosed that India receives about billion cubic meters [bcm] of rainfall every year of which 1869 bcm flows off as average annual run-off in the various rivers of the country. Due to geographical limitation, only about 890 bcm of surface water can be utilized in addition to 423 bcm of replenishible ground water. The government programme is promoting rain water through watershed management programme, artificial recharge of ground water and roof top rain water harvesting.
Rainwater harvesting has assumed overriding significance. The government has already taken steps, as an experiment to start the scheme in various private buildings. It has asked the schools to have the rain water harvesting. This would also help inculcate awareness among students about the storing of water.
Kerala has made rainwater harvesting compulsory for all new buildings in the urban areas. Many other steps have also been taken in this regard.
From different parts of India there are several success stories of rain water harvesting and these should inspire state governments, NGOs, urban groups, residents associations, Panchayats etc to undertake similar scheme that would benefit all.
In the years ahead, water will become a luxury and every citizen should feel it his/ her duty to conserve every drop of water.