“Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side.”
– Victor Webster
All of us celebrated World Water Day on 22nd March. Most of us fulfilled our duties by sharing the messages and posts on our social media accounts and with our friends and colleagues. Many organizations used the opportunity to promote their cause, projects, achievements, and in some case their brands and products. All of this is inevitable, and to some extent even acceptable.
What brought my attention back to the World Water Day was a new report issued by WaterAid, an organization which is always on the forefront of ground-level work on water-related matters and which regularly contributes in our magazine through a regular column and articles.
This WaterAid report, titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019” says, “With one billion people living in water scarcity during at least one part of the year and around 600 million living in areas of high to extreme water stress, India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history.” It further states that some 4 billion people in the world live in physically water-scarce areas and 844 million don’t have access to clean water close to home. The world’s water crisis is getting worse, yet globally we use six times as much water today as we did 100 years ago, driven by population growth and changes in diets and consumer habits.
1 billion population of India is living with water scarcity during at least one part of the year. Our country’s rate of groundwater depletion has increased by 23% between 2000 and 2010. Around 70% of our drinking water is contaminated in some form or the other. At the same time, we are the third largest exporter of groundwater – 12% of the global total while we also use the largest amount of groundwater – 24% of the global total. It is predicted that by 2040, India will face high water stress along with some other countries.
I recently read a heartbreaking news report in Times of India from a village called Mahismal in Nashik district of Maharashtra state. The women of this village have to make a punishing 2 km midnight trek to their only source of water which is already a tiny pool hidden by trees. Sometimes it takes them all night just to grab a few liters of water. Women from some other villages also gather at this small source of water from as far as 5 km away. While the waiting time to stand in the queue is already 2 hours, looking at the alarming rate of water scarcity it is predicted that a few liters of water could soon take all night.
Now, coming back to the theme of this year’s World Water Day – “Leaving No One Behind” – which was an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: As sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. As water professionals, we make big plans for the growth of our organizations as well as the water industry. In the context of these two reports though, we must remind ourselves of the unique position we are in and the role which we can play – for the last person standing in the queue. Sooner or later, it could result in a big ripple effect for all of us one day.
Our next two magazine issues will be May (Smart Water for Smart & Resilient Cities, Smart Water Network & Smart Irrigation), and June (CSR in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Water Quality & Disinfection). I welcome editorial contributions on these topics.
Keep sharing your thoughts, inputs, and suggestions.
– Mayur Sharma
Editor, Smart Water & Waste World Magazine
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