New Delhi: Addressing the nation in the first edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ in 2020 on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to make a determined effort to conserve water. During the radio programme, PM Modi appreciated the on-going efforts across the country in this area and highlighted that people from all sections of society have wholeheartedly contributed towards the efforts of water conservation.
One area which has witnessed wide scale public participation is water conservation.
From Uttarakhand to Tamil Nadu, lot of good work has been done.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 26, 2020
While delivering his ‘Mann ki Baat’ speech, PM Modi said,
Participative spirit experienced across the nation under Swachh Bharat Mission is being reflected in another cause, water conservation. For this, many innovative methods are being deployed throughout the country. It gives me immense pleasure to note that ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyaan’ which began last monsoon season is now becoming a major success. Through public participation ponds and tanks have been constructed in a big way.
While reminding people to focus on employing innovative methods to deal with water stress PM Modi called upon them to share the stories of their efforts through pictures and videos with the hashtag ‘#jalshakti4India’ in order to inspire others. He said,
Today, the entire nation is eager to listen to the tales of our Jal Shakti champions. I request you to share your efforts or of those around you towards water conservation, through stories, pictures and videos.
Let us celebrate those who work towards water conservation.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 26, 2020
The Prime Minister noted that ponds and tanks have been constructed in various areas and gave examples of water conservation efforts from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Tamil Nadu. Mentioning about Jalore district in Rajasthan, he said,
In Jalore, two historical step-wells had turned into storehouses of garbage and dirty water. But one fine day, hundreds of people from Bhadraayun and Thanawala Panchayats took a resolve to rejuvenate them, under the Jal Shakti Campaign. Much before the rains, people immersed themselves in the task of cleaning out the accumulated filthy water, garbage and morass. For this campaign, some donated money; others their labour and sweat. As a result, these step wells have turned into their lifelines now.
A similar story comes across from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh where Saraahi Lake was brought to life by the collective efforts of Villagers. Another example of Public participation is Village Suniyakot along the Almora-Haldwani Highway in Uttarakhand where villagers took it upon themselves to ensure that water reached their village. People raised money, donated labour. A pipe was laid upto the village and a pumping station was set up. Thus, the decade-old problem of water crisis was solved.
Water Crisis Facing India
According to the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) released by NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog in August 2019, India is suffering a very significant water crisis. The report found that 14 states (Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and others) and two Union Territories – Delhi and Puducherry have poor water management because of which these are facing acute water shortage.
An assessment done by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) also highlights, four cities of the country are among the top megacities of the world that are facing water scarcity and drought with Chennai topping the chart, Kolkata standing on the second position. Other two Indian cities featuring in the list are Mumbai and Delhi.
Commenting on the water crisis facing the country, Rajendra Singh, who has transformed the drought-prone landscapes of Rajasthan into flourishing eco-systems and won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2001, is also known as the Waterman of India asserted that along with effective management of both fresh and wastewater, monitoring of water usage must be considered for tackling water woes. He said,
Why is extensive pumping of water required? If treated, wastewater can be reused for various non-potable purposes.
As per World Health Organisation (WHO), about 20 litres per capita per day of water should be assured to take care of basic hygiene and food requirements.