Denizens of the forest are figuring in media reports along with womenfolk in rural parts across the land for all bad but virtually the same reason. Graphics and videos during telecast by news channels are portraying the thirsty jumbos and the hard-working women desperately in search of water, mainly for drinking by both parties and for bare daily needs by the latter. Juxtaposed to this grim scenario is the urban scene, particularly the metros, witnessing mindless wastage of water, the precious gift of nature, brought to their kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and also for flooding their front yards, not to forget wetting the plants in their premises. The towns people, armed with sumps, and a growing number of them constructing borewells for captive access to groundwater, are known to be happily unfazed by media reports presenting a grim picture of the water related matters — scarcity, pollution and wanton destruction of all kinds of water bodies.
Figures of India’s disadvantageous global position such as, high share in the world’s population, low share in availability of water needed to support both life of living forms and other unavoidable economic human activities, unsustainable population density many times that a global average and other related issues, repeatedly included in this column earlier have made no impact on the minds of both people at large and authorities in successive governments.
Unprecedented excavation of sand from river beds, an activity in which the Karnataka players of building construction sector seem to be notoriously in the forefront, fouling up both flowing and stationary stock of water such as Ganga in the North and lakes across Karnataka, including Mysuru, compounded by deficit monsoon for which also everyone knows who has to own the blame — those who continue denuding the once luscious forests — cannot be put back like words spoken or time ticking every second. The tragedy is not that the foregoing water-supply-threatening features of humans at large cannot be reined in, but the tragedy is that they are not only continuing but gaining acceleration.
Governments at the levels of Centre and States as well as urban local bodies are vested with the onerous responsibility of meeting the (drinking) water needs of citizens, down to the last one. The extent to which that responsibility has been fulfilled is as clear as day light. One cannot but stress the imperatives of the currently witnessed ‘want of water wisdom’ and counterproductive ‘water behaviour’ of all sections in the land’s diaspora. Not a day is too early to start acting.