Dr. Shahid Amin Trali

Use Water in Right Ways!

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(We had snow covering all over from plains to hills and now the snow is a distant dream. Recently, some of the big water reservoirs and springs in Kashmir were found dried up. Everyday there is pathetic stories regarding crisis of water).

Our Kashmir, for every season had something unique to offer, and engulf with tranquility. But the peace and sweetness do not exist anymore. That charm is hard to find again that overwhelmed human life, rich flora and fauna. God had gifted us with the unique and richer resources. But the humans began to foul play with the nature which is now paying back and defeating us most. Where are those beautiful springs that offered me fresh and sweet water?  Where is that snow that offered a worthwhile and milky look to my amazing land? Where are those icicles that were house decorators and hanging from our roof tops? Where are those beautiful streams, kids enjoyed bath and play? We were richer but now drained out of our dominating and precious resources. The best days spent in beautiful Kashmir valley and my memories are still alive. We had snow covering all over from plains to hills and now the snow is a distant dream. Some of the big water reservoirs and springs in Kashmir were found dried up. Everyday there is pathetic stories regarding crisis of water. Our taps are now thirsty for long. Our rich streams have been left with dirt. Our water has gone deep and deep and left the land dry. The winter in Jammu & Kashmir this time has recorded largest deficit in precipitation. Some areas recently have been cautioned not to cultivate those crops which require heavy water.  Recent rains in Kashmir have been the savior but we need to accept that there is a water crisis at a global level and situation is alarming.

Last week, the world resources institute (WRI), basing its findings on a new early warning satellite system, warned that shrinking reservoirs in India could result in water taps going completely dry in the country. A team of experts also find that India could well be on the way to becoming the next Cape Town. India is the world’s largest user of ground water, which is depleting fast. The serious concern in India is that Bengaluru is on the list compiled by BBC of the 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water. There is strong call for seeking amicable solutions towards sustainable development. “We depend completely on nature for essential, life-sustaining services – clean air and water, a stable climate, food – yet our activities are having an increasingly dramatic and detrimental effect on wildlife and ecosystems, putting not just wild species but also our own survival at risk. The inconvenient truth is that we are meeting our short-term needs largely at the expense of the planet, and it is people – particularly those who are most vulnerable or who have no say in decisions about how natural resources are being used (including future generations) – who will suffer most”. (www.fauna-flora.org).

A renowned environmental expert, Prof. MRD Kundangar from Kashmir treats water as a social good. “Water is first and foremost a social good in Islam – a gift from God and a part of, and necessary for, sustaining all life. Water belongs to the community as a whole – no individual literally owns water. The first priority for water use is access to drinking water of acceptable quantity and quality to sustain human life, and every human being has the right to this basic water requirement. The second and third priorities for water are for domestic animals and for irrigation. Humankind is the steward of water on earth. Individuals, organizations, and states are liable for harm that they have caused to the environment or to the environmental rights of others, including water use rights. Water resources must be managed and used in a sustainable way. Sustainable and equitable water management ultimately depends upon following universal values such as fairness, equity, and concern for others. Water demands good management. Water conservation is central to Islam. Mosques, religious institutes, and religious schools should be used to disseminate this principle so as to complement other religious and secular efforts”.

Prof. Yogesh Upadhyay, Academician and Management Guru from Gwalior, suggests that it is every drop that matters. Water is important for tourism, rivers, agriculture etc. In fact it is the water that covers the basic sustenance of life. Humans must learn lessons in daily life how water can be effectively managed, which if mismanaged will pose a serious threat. How to ignite the appetite to do good for environment is a million dollar concern? Different routines and practices need to be revisited towards ever depleting and limited resources. Recycling of everything- water, food, waste, consumables, goods etc. is the need of the time. We need not to wait for govt. to do something good for us, rather develop ways and means on our own to contribute towards sustainable society as an individual and as a group…..

As individual members of society, we must develop a strong belief system that it is every drop of water that counts. Any single member of the society can make a huge difference with right attitude and concern towards future by reducing water usage as well its wastage. A good amount of water in routine we lose when we face wash or go for shave or brush. Earlier we used a balti (tub) and a mug for our bathing purpose but now we have showers running without calm. We can use those clothes which will require less water on washing…..We need not to use surf or detergent continuously in summer to wash our clothes as it demands more water. We can dry clean cars and other vehicles without using water.

We must revisit religious our practices deeply where there are opportunities to save huge quantities of water. We must do it being realistic and without being biased and intolerable towards other religions. A Jammu based lovely Hindu boy in my recent train journey added to my knowledge that Hindus earlier used to celebrate Holi with Gulal (natural colour from flowers) and there was little or no water being used to celebrate the festival. Moreover I got an attention of a video clip recently by some Muslim clergy where only a single cup of water can be sufficient for ‘wudhu’ (ablution) to offer prayers. The general practice is that we use twenty times more water for the same practice. Besides there is more water being polluted and wasted on ‘Eid-ul-Adha’ for ‘Qurbani’ (sacrificing an animal on Muslim festival) which can be saved significantly.

There is also a good link between water and electricity, the more power saved means more water saved. Our houses and buildings need to have natural light system. Even we have sufficient natural light available but still we never dare to switch off lights to save the energy. We need to install energy efficient LED and fluorescent bulbs. This is an easy way to save energy and lower water foot print. Switching to solar energy is an alternative. Washing our clothes frequently is wasteful and bad for our clothes. We can also use many clothes which don’t require an iron. We can save water, money and energy by only boiling as many cups of water as we need. We need to think of using low flush toilet. Washing a full machine load of clothes uses small water than two half loads. We must turn off taps and try quickly fixing leaky taps. One study finds that about 6 litres of water a minute can be saved by turning off tap while we brush our teeth.Engineers of this country have a huge responsibility to put water harvesting as a big focus in design and construction activities. For every building we must have water sewage treatment system….We should have some harvesting system where authorities can think of storage, processing and usage of water in right ways…Companies public or private that require relatively large amounts of water must have good water programs in place, especially areas that pose the greatest risk to water resources.

Moreover, innovators and thinkers must offer solutions ranging from a dry toilet to applications that include conservation agriculture to minimize soil disturbance, maintain soil cover and regularize crop rotation. Good solutions must be aimed in urban areas, including green buildings, green walls, roof gardens and vegetated infiltration or drainage systems, landscape restoration, or even systems that improve the performance of built infrastructure. The most important water management strategy: grow and produce things in the right place. In other words, water-intensive crops like rice and cotton should be grown in water-rich regions. The agricultural policy needs to be revolutionized to challenge conventional agricultural practices, which increases water insecurity. With populations rising, the water scarcity stresses will only see a rise. The world will badly suffer if the issue remains unnoticed. Water and resource management has to become an order of the day.

Dr. Shahid Amin Trali

Assistant Professor, ITM University, Gwalior

([email protected])

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