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Should we foresee water wars ahead?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

We’ve all experienced the feeling of thirst and the relief that comes with drinking water! We only need water for drinking, cooking and washing, right? Absolutely not! Water is in everything around us from paper to clothes, mobile phones and cars. Do you know how much water runs through your hands every day without you knowing it?

On the trail of water

On average, the per capita water consumption of an Indian is around 200 litres. If that seems like a really high number let's first consider how water is used in our everyday lives. To start, we all use water for drinking, washing, cleaning, cooking, and growing food, making it our most precious resource for survival. What adds to that daily household water use, is that even more water is used by industry to generate electricity, manufacture products, and transport people and goods. All of the water that we use comes from local lakes, rivers, streams or underground water resources!

Since 71% of the earth is covered in water, some people can't help but wonder: Why should we conserve? 90% of earth’s water is salt water. Out of the 3% that is freshwater, only .5% is available for drinking!

Water, a valuable resource taken for granted!

The rise in demand and development pressure is changing the characteristics of water in India. The groundwater is more depleted and less available. Surface water is getting more and more polluted and unsuitable for use day by day. Good water quality is essential for human health as well as the ecosystem. However, ensuring the availability of sufficient healthy water to everyone is a huge challenge now. About 70% of surface water resources in India are polluted. The major factor contributing to water pollution is wastewater from different sources, intensive agriculture, industrial production, infrastructure development, untreated urban runoff and wastewater. According to WHO, half of India’s morbidity is water related. Waste management has not been as efficient as required to manage the increasing volume of waste generated daily in India, especially in cities.

Water is life, water is change!

Many of us had the inflatable pools or any well or pool near our homes, which we’d jump in at the first sight. In smaller towns, there were cool ponds which were such a delight to leap into! Such good times! Don’t you think the future generations also should get to enjoy the waters as much we did?

Here are 5 reasons for you to start conserving water:

1. It minimizes the effects of drought and water shortages:

Even though our need for fresh water sources is always increasing because of population and industry growth, the supply we have stays constant. Even though water eventually returns to Earth through the water cycle, it's not always returned to the same spot, or in the same quantity and quality. By reducing the amount of water we use, we can better protect against future drought years.

2. It guards against rising costs and political conflict:

Failing to conserve water will lead to a lack of an adequate water supply, which can have drastic consequences. These include rising costs, reduced food supplies, health hazards, and political conflict. Should the next war be for water?

3. It helps to preserve our environment:

Reducing our water consumption reduces the energy required to process and deliver it to homes, businesses, farms, and communities. This also helps to reduce pollution and conserve fuel resources.

4. It builds safe and beautiful communities:

Firefighters, hospitals, gas stations, street cleaners, health clubs, gyms, and restaurants all require large amounts of water to provide services to the community. Reducing our usage of water now means that these services can continue to be provided.

5. It makes water available for recreational purposes:

It's not just for beautifying our surroundings, watering lawns, trees, flowers, and vegetable gardens, as well as washing cars and filling public fountains at parks. Failing to conserve water now can mean losing out on such uses later on. It is also about conserving water so that our next generation get to enjoy swimming pools, ponds and lakes as much as we did.

What can you do?

Water conservation starts by using water wisely and not contributing to unnecessary wastage. Let us see few ways you can conserve water:

Fix any leaks: Leaky taps and showers that drip at the rate of one drop per second can waste up to 10,000 litres of water each year. So fix them at the earliest.

Bath-time: Bathtub – bad! Shower – okay. Bucket – best!

Turn off what’s not in use: Running the tap while brushing or shaving your teeth can waste 15 litres of water. So shut the tap when not in use.

Invest in water-efficient goods: When you need to replace or buy household products, get water-efficient shower-heads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and many other water-saving products.

Water your garden with a watering can: This is a wiser choice than a hosepipe. A hosepipe will mean a lot of water wastage which can be solved by using a can!

Clean Fruits & Vegetables in a Pan: When you need to clean fruits and vegetables with water, try filling up a pan of water to wash them instead of letting the tap run.

Water conservation requires forethought and effort, but every little bit helps. Small changes in our lifestyles will go a long way to reduce our water usage. Let us make water conservation a way of life, not just something we think about once in a while!