Paying for Water Is a Great Example of How We Failed as a Race

The water level in lakes around Chennai has shrunk down to 1.3%. A major portion of the city is now thriving at the mercy of water that is supplied through private tankers and municipal water trucks.

Bengaluru, which was known as the city of gardens and lakes, is facing a severe water crisis. The municipal water board recently said that they can supply water only for 60% of the city’s population. The city is running on a water deficit of 800 million liters a day.

INS Kadamba, the naval base in Karwar, is facing a severe water crisis due to the shortfall of water supply from Gangavalli river. The base recently bought 5 million liters of water from Mumbai through its fleet tanker INS Deepak.

In Maharashtra, 136 out of 355 Talukas has been declared drought-hit.

All the above incidents provide a clear indication that India, one of the fastest developing economies in the world, is facing the worst water crisis in the history.

A 2018 NITI aayog report says that 600 million people are affected by the water crisis, 40% of the population might lose access to clean drinking water by 2030.

If this doesn’t scare us, I don’t know what will.

Water, which was once free, now comes with a price tag.

Rapid growth and Failing monsoon

If you’re thinking “What’s the reason?”

It’s us, humans.

We’re growing too rapidly without considering the consequences. We’ve destroyed forests and water bodies at an alarming rate, without even giving a second of thought about where would we store all the freshwater.

Cities like Bangalore has tripled in size over the past few decades. Result? It lost 79% of their water bodies over the past four decades. This along with industrial activities, deeply affects the monsoon.

Chennai’s original monsoon is supposed to be from June to August. But, for the past couple of years, the city has experienced storms and cyclones only during the months of November and December. Last year, we’ve failed to receive that too.

Cities are the worst victims of the water crisis compared to small cities, towns, and villages. We have no infrastructure to store freshwater. Every apartment complex comes with a built-in clubhouse, gym, and car parking. But, how much have thought has gone into collecting and storing rainwater during monsoon. City Dwellers only rely on groundwater that won’t last more than a few months.

The price we pay

When there is a demand for something, it instantly becomes a fast-growing business. Water tankers make the most of the situation. The price of water has doubled over a last few months, and is likely to triple if the monsoon gets delayed further.

Our generation is fortunate enough to have had the “drinking straight from the tap” experience. Our future generation won’t have the privilege. They will have to drink water that is coming from a purifier.

We’ve lost our chance to taste the water in its purest form.

The Future

We’re at the peak of technological innovation. We were able to take high speed mobile data to every corner of the country in less than 5 years. But, we can’t do the same for clean drinking water.

Technology has provided us with tools to solve a lot of problems. But, we’re not using them to solve the right problems.

We have the smartest minds amongst us. We can come up with numerous solutions to solve this problem.

Imagine a machine learning algorithm that monitors weather patterns and tell the government when to expect rainfall. A concrete infrastructure that collects and saves rainwater from large buildings, malls, and apartment complexes. An IoT system that could monitor the city’s water consumption and tell the authorities how to efficiently fulfill city’s water needs. And, an app that allows people to report when they see a leakage or freshwater getting wasted.

We’ve polluted the air, melted the polar ice caps, punched a huge hole in the ozone, killed 60% of the animal population, dumped nuclear waste into the ocean, and sucked our earth dry. We shouldn’t be worrying about an upcoming economic crisis. Instead, we should worry about a major ecological crisis that could put all our lives in danger.

It’s time we come together and start thinking about building a sustainable ecosystem for our future generations.

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