The capital of India with 20 million people is battling gaping inequalities which have people fighting over a basic necessity – water.
India and its biggest cities including capital Delhi face a severe water crisis, and its visible from miles away in space, where images have displayed the disappearing water sources. But even with a clear picture of the calamity to come, the realization is limited and exploitation abundant.
Even with a clear picture of the water calamity to come, the realization is limited and exploitation abundant.
How does one expect civil servants and politicians to not exacerbate the effects of the amplifying drought? They’re adorned by a limitless supply of water and when the water tanker is one call away.
The ones who are ‘drying up’ are the ones who have to stand in line for a water tanker that comes once a day.
How Parliament neglects the crisis
To begin with, it’s important to bring into light the attitude that people of power, the lawmakers and those who are actually influential, have exhibited.
In the very Rajya Sabha meeting in which Shashi Tharoor talked about India’s weak and vulnerable data protection network; he talked about India’s ‘grave water crisis’. Sadly, members of parliament felt there were more important things at hand.
For most of these lawmakers, including Prime Minister Modi, they live in Central Delhi. That area is far-off from the everyday struggles of the poor.
Most lawmakers live in Central Delhi, far-off from the everyday struggles of the poor.
On June 10, Delhi recorded the highest ever temperature of 48 degrees. This was also the period when it was the driest it has been in 26 years. The cherry on top of this dry cake is an ever-increasing demand for water.
Dissecting drought-hit Delhi
Years of judicious and reckless use of this essential ecological resource is the primary cause of this situation. A good chunk of it is used by corporate houses, and powerful lobbies alike.
However, given below a number of possible causes that played more of a role that other contributing factors :
Flood irrigation is an archaic method of irrigation and is often called unscientific. Whether unscientific or not, the biggest effect it has is that it causes a lot of wastage of water.
Switching to micro-irrigation would mean that farmers are able to better irrigate their fields. In turn, use less water at the same time. It is imperative that both farmers and lawmakers take note of this malpractice so that all of us may tide over this acute shortage.
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promises made during his election campaign, On July 1, the water minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan.
Political leaders almost never see water as an issue or the highlight of a political agenda. PM Modi has indeed given topmost priority to water conservation, now. Regardless, better late than never is how the idiom goes.
Delhi’s primary government district and the army cantonment area receive about 375 liters per person per day. While an area like Sangam Vihar gets only 40 liters. Water is supplied by boreholes run by the city government but only in name.
Local gangs and politicians exploit the disparity and take private ownership of these boreholes. They also supply private tankers. The resultant is price gouging. Illegal water pumping and private tankers don’t in a time when rains are yet to reach the capital.
Delhi’s primary government district and the army cantonment area receive about 375 liters per person per day, while an area like Sangam Vihar receives only 40 liters.
It’s one thing to get water that barely lasts a day, every 2 days. It’s worse when you do get water but it’s toxic and not remotely fit for consumption. However, to be in a position when you have to fight with others for water and get possibly killed is the worst.
The police station in Bhalswa Dairy locality in north-western Delhi has seen 50% of all its complaints pertaining to fights over water.
The police station in Bhalswa Dairy locality in north-western Delhi has seen 50% of all its complaints pertaining to fights over water. Nearly 200,000 people living in the Bhalswa area are vulnerable to liver-related diseases such as jaundice and hepatitis, said Kamlesh Bharti, president of non-governmental organization Kamakhya Lok Sewa Samiti, which works in the areas of health and education.
As per Indian government’s think tank, NITI Aayog, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020.
In a report, Indian government’s think tank, NITI Aayog revealed that Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020.
This reality is grim, yes, but if we think about what it means, it takes a darker turn. Along with Mumbai, these 4 are our economic powerhouses.
If these cities take a hit and slow down, the booming economy that India is will be reduced to a country that ‘in its heyday’, was a force to be reckoned with. No longer is.