Independence -waterAugust 16, 2013
As has been well said, it is easier to make things complex than to make them simple. Luckily for us some of the functional things to do with water remain the simplest. While we celebrate Independence Day let us also remind ourselves that the role of citizenship confers on us rights but also puts on use responsibilities. It is in our engagement with the world outside our private boundaries that we truly become citizens.
A list of the possibility
Respect the law: In Bangalore for example rainwater harvesting is mandatory . Now the water supply utility has set August 20th as the deadline for buildings to get rainwater harvesting done. Correct compliance with the law will help conserve water, increase the groundwater levels and reduce urban flooding.
Start with responsible water use: Switch water conserving taps, flushes , showers , washing machines et al. and become a responsible water user in your home.
Take responsibility for community areas: In your apartment engage with the system which uses water for the garden, lawns, swimming pools and look at ways of being water efficient along-with the staff responsible.
Adopt your street: If the building you live in has a street adopt it. Work on keeping the whole thing or at least a stretch of the road clean. This will mean that garbage management is in place , segregation and collection happens in all buildings and that the nothing is left as litter on the roads. It also means that the storm water drain is kept clean and that the roadside trees are protected.
Take care of a lake: Citizen groups all across the nation are coming together to take care of urban water bodies. Identify the nearest one, organize and ensure that the lake is revived. The work will be a learning and its own reward.
Assist a nearby government school: Everybody agrees that the future of India is in its younger generation and the education they get. For proper schooling a basic necessity is good water and sanitation. Many government schools struggle to access clean water and good sanitation. Engage with a local government school and help improve their water systems. As little a thing as soap for hand washing or a good water filter can be of great help , prevent absenteeism and reduce the incidence of water borne disease outbreaks. Try it , it is not difficult.
Go for a walk in the park: Enjoy natures bounty but also ensure that it is clean , that they adopt water harvesting and get a landscape which does not demand water. A retired professor and his school teacher wife have adopted and cleaned up a local park in front of their home even labeling plants and trees as well as creating a lot for children to play . They are closer to 70 . If they can do it most of us can too.
Try visit a river: India is the land of seven rivers. Most of them are struggling now with pollution or with water use drying them up . See if you can do something to redress the situation. Groups across India are planting trees in catchment , creating percolation tanks and cleaning up old wells called Kalyanis. Perhaps you can help them out with your skills whatever they be.
Nationhood is about thinking beyond the self. Progress and a clean environment is not a spectator sport and requires strong engagement with communities of like minded citizens banding together to overcome a problem. This Independence day let us all become water warriors in our small way . That would be water wisdom.