‘There are over 108 Crore people around the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water. More than 8,40,000 people die each year from water-related diseases!’
The above statement might sound farfetched, just-for-General-Knowledge-sake or something that doesn’t affect us in any way. Wrong, it does! Be shocked to hear that as per a survey conducted by a leading newspaper, Kerala is one of the worst-hit in access to protected drinking water. Though the report is based on access to govt-provided pipe water, and is likely flawed in not considering personal wells as a safe source, thus not depicting the actual situation, it is nevertheless a pointer to the hard fact that water crisis in Kerala is imminent. Some of you might agree with me that it’s already here! Various news reports during this ongoing-summer vouch that.
In Kerala, we pride ourselves of having blessed with 44 rivers and almost six-months-long monsoon. But it’s time for a reality check. What Coleridge wrote for the ocean-bound sailor -“Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink!” – seems to have come true for today’s God’s Own Country. While in foreign lands we still see pure rivers flowing and flourishing, we have reduced our rivers to sewage drains and toxic dumps. The question is not just the quantity of water; it is that of quality as well. We have the example of river Periyar, about the pathetic situation of which the media discussed at length on the World Environment Day. It pains to see even as the world thirsts for safe drinking water, people unscrupulously pollute rivers, wells, ponds and every other source. The ever increasing population, their demands; the growth of industries, the total apathy of the authorities and above all the atrocious indiscipline prevailing among our people… This is digging our own grave!
Time has encroached to take control of the situation prudently and with a vision for the future generations. Waiting for the govt to set everything right may not be enough. Indeed, the govt has a lot to do, but people at large should not leave things to the govt only. Being civic conscious as not to pollute water bodies, setting up personal rain water harvesting systems, tapping green energies, etc., are things very much in the hands of the individual. The need of the hour is sustainable water management. To save water, the ground water table should be properly recharged by water harvesting schemes (making roof harvesting structures).
In this context, I feel proud and at the same time my duty to share with you that the V-Guard Corporate office at Vennala, Kochi, doesn’t have a bore well or public water connection. The needs of the entire office complex are met by rain water harvesting and two open wells. Solar panels take care of a regular hot water supply. A rooftop garden with lawns and a wealth of plants add to the greenery the structure supports. It has been over eight years since the office was built and it has remained a truly sustainable model. We’ve successfully followed the same method in all the apartment projects of Veegaland Developers.
I believe domestic roof top rain water harvesting can be an answer to solving the water crisis in a major way. Various systems and processes and agencies that help to set up the same are available to those interested. If rainwater harvesting isn’t done out of self-motivation, it should be carried out at least out of enforcement by law. Setting up water harvesting and solar system should be made mandatory. To encourage people to install the same, perks such as subsidies should be provided.
Monsoon is soon to hit our state. Let not a single precious drop go waste!