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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Running Out Of Water

Way back in 1746 Benjamin Franklin warned that only when the wells turned dry, would we learn the worth of water. Prophetic words, for not only wells, but ponds, lakes, and rivers all over the world are beginning to dry up!

Water is one life-sustaining element that we have always taken for granted, despite knowing that over 99% of the water on Earth’s surface is either inaccessible or unfit for use, and all that is left for us to share with other life forms is just about 0.3% water existing in lakes and rivers. But, we have gone on exploiting and polluting it, through mindless deforestation, distortion of natural landscapes and excavation for minerals and ores. 

The result is an erratic 'Water Cycle' (Click here to read more), which is making the globe warmer, rains unpredictable, and groundwater scanty. Recurring droughts are turning many regions arid. If you have doubts, recall the last time you caught the distinctive smell of soil as the first raindrops fell on a warm and dry earth.

A case in point is the city of Mumbai, which gets around 10,00,000 million litres of 'heaven sent' water every year. Where does it all go? With buildings spread over 70% of the city, and paved tiles, cement, and bitumen covering open spaces, most of it drains out into Arabian sea.

No one realises the importance of groundwater to humans, plants and animals. Using powerful pumps, we are extracting groundwater at a rate far in excess of its natural replenishment. That is why, ten years ago we could dig a well 30 feet deep and get water, but can't find any even at double that depth of late. A clear sign of withdrawal of groundwater!

No extra effort is needed to revitalise this fading resource. If you are a resident in a housing complex, insist on leaving the surrounding space within the complex open. Veto any proposal to cover it with cement or tiles. Support community initiatives to protect and preserve water-bodies like lakes, springs, and wetlands. Facilitate the seepage of as much rainwater as possible into Earth.

A tiny step, but it will make this planet smile again!

"We’ve poisoned the air, the water, and the land... 
We’re running out of resources and we are running out of time."
~ Robert Redford

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