TODAY -

Water shortage, sip on the rocks

Free Thinker *



Who told you to flush your toilet every time you ride the commode? The water crisis is hovering around the city and you are still taking a bath every day in your bathroom. Unpatriotic citizens! Take bath in the local ponds or streams nearby (if not dried up).

What is the need to wash your clothes every week? - Once a month is fine. Imphal is not that dirty or polluted. Washing is required only for those who are living in much polluted dirty cities.

"In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria" (someone said it). So, drink little water; it is full of bacteria. Even RO water is not safe as it lacks minerals. Bottled water is unreliable; who is going to certify its safety, at every party or feast? Water is a basic necessity of our existence. So, consume less - the bare minimum.

Water scarcity is a major issue all over the world including Greater Imphal (in the hills it is almost perennial). The problem has become so acute that many are buying water for their day-to-day uses. They are spending hundreds of rupees every week.

A water tanker costs about 750 rupees. We can't blame the Government for everything. Citizens are also equally responsible; we are buying water? That means water is still available. It is a matter of management and proper distribution.

We are completely dependent on lakes, ponds, rivers and streams (dams are constructed on the strengths of these water sources). We are yet to explore the possibilities of ground water. We have seen tube wells here and there; these are for private or local consumption.

Now we can start exploring the use of ground water in a bigger way for widespread supply. But we have to be careful; it is reported that in many places in the valley when the drilling takes place gas/oil has emerged suddenly. A geologist says we have enough ground water; the entire population can be fed.

In the past, people understood the value of water and planned their living accordingly. Many civilizations bloom and are lost on account of water. But today we have knowledge but we still fail to appreciate the value of water. The main reasons for water scarcity are mismanagement and ever growing population. Water resources are also limited.

Valley is a major food grower. It produces tons of food to feed its population; agriculture requires a lot of water. The traditional method of irrigation wastes a lot of water; most of the areas are under stress due to scarcity of water.

But, the solution to this problem lies in the extensive use of novel irrigation techniques such as watering plants and crops using a sprinkler or drip irrigation. New high-yielding crops may also be adopted which requires little water.

So far, we haven't taken the problem of water scarcity seriously. Perhaps now the authorities and people are working to resolve this problem so that our future does not suffer. Coping with water scarcity will require major changes in all forms of consumption to avoid wastage.

Rivers are drying up and rainwater is increasingly unpredictable. But as we attempt to cope with freshwater scarcity and develop conservation technologies. Some countries, like Singapore and Japan are trying to recycle and become more self-sufficient.

Japan and Israel are leaders in developing advanced technology that cleanses wastewater for other use, including drinking. They have even purified sea water. We may emulate them. But money!

Poor infrastructure is devastating for the water supply. It wastes resources, adds costs, and diminishes the quality of potable water. The problem is not confined to a particular region. Pipes burst on a regular basis almost everywhere. 'Khongban' drain water enters the water pipes.

Access to water is a must; but what about quality? It must be given priority too. People are likely to pursue public-private partnership to get water and also maintain quality while distributing or selling. Water for drinking, water for agriculture, water for cattle, water for bathrooms and toilets - all must be managed and monitored- must have different yardsticks.

Climate change and water scarcity are producing the most challenging consequences in developing and underdeveloped areas like ours. One proposed solution is to introduce new water conservation/storage means and technologies. Doing so is extremely tricky because we don't have money. We need smart people to clear projects and mobilize funds.

Because of the rapid demographic growth, the water supply-demand gap is immensely widened. In our midst, we have patriotic citizens who used to save water. There was a great man, he was an MLA who later became a Minister and MP; in a party, the waiter asked him whether water is to be put in his drinks, he said "save water, it is precious". Such a sensible approach is required today in this lean season.

One gentleman posts in public that these days he does not have water to wash his back-body- outlet after passing stool. My humble suggestion is that we may use paper napkins for the same (foreigners normally do) till the arrival of monsoon.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on March 01 2023 .



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