Water o water, what is your colour


When we think of water, so many images of serene lake, floods, serpentine river, swamps, playful waves or violent sea may pass across our mind…

And with water comes life – birds are the first wildlife we associate with water – colourful water fowl, egrets and herons, kingfisher, river tern…of course fishes, tortoise and turtles, dolphin, whales…On the other hand, what would a tiger or elephant do without water?

There are a whole lot of water sports and tourism…fishing, swimming, boating, sailing, to name a few. Fishing is our national past time in a manner of speaking. I have seen people in country side forgoing wage of, say, INR 250 to catch INR 25 worth of fish! But than life is not money.

We, in a city like Delhi, living in urban area, getting 300 litre per day per person piped water supply, may not realise importance of water for drinking, and of course, for all other domestic needs, including bathing. Those living in water stressed areas know the importance of even a drop of water!

All said and done, ‘water is the most important element for survival of life – no human-being, animal or plant can survive without it.’

It may be good for kids to sing ‘Rain rain go away, come another day, little Johnny wants to play…’ or for adults rushing to work in cities wish ‘Rain rain go away, come another day…’ but farmers wish ‘Rain rain do not go away, come today, come today…’ It is rain that recharge our rivers, lakes, ground water.

Government of India looks forward to timely and full quota of rains. Nation looks towards the Met Department’s prediction of rain with crossed fingers and lot of nervousness – even a hint of deficit rain brings the Planning Commission and PMO on toes, and share markets become bearish.

Goa is planning its water policy. There are several issues it must deal with. Groundwater is getting severely depletion due to mining. Springs, lakes, rivers and marine water are impacted due to industrial development and pollution. Untreated Sewage draining in to wetlands and rivers acts as the last nail in the coffin.

In the Goa context, we have found in a survey during the mining ban: ‘Post the ban on mining (by the Supreme Court of India in 2012), there is an improvement in fresh water bodies and revival of springs was noticed’.

The policy needs to be drafted in a holistic manner. A mechanism may be inbuilt, so that it is respected with implementation so that water remains water.

Pushp Jain

ToI Pg 02 04022016 Draft Water Policy ignores ground realities