Water Politics

Water is one of the most essential components for all living beings on the face of earth. It is also a fast disappearing resource. Scarcity of water is something that my city has faced stoically over the years. From getting a meagre supply of two hours a day to no water for days together. Scarcity of water therefore is something that is very close to our heart also something that irks and makes us happy. It has been a long time since we have been able to take this precious resource for granted.

We are totally dependent on the three months of moderate rainfall in monsoons for our annual supply of water. The entire agriculture is also dependent on the monsoons. The inflation rate rising prices are all dependent on the three months of monsoon. So it is but natural that when it comes to the political scenario the bigwigs make water one of the issues in the elections.

So far we haven’t got a single party who talks for the people. Most people are out to fill their own pockets. Most of the local politicians have vested interests or own the water tankers that supply water to the impoverished rich people in times of scarcity. You rarely hear of the rich ever having a water problem. It is only the middle class and poor who are dealing with this on a day-to-day basis. They wake up at odd hours to fill buckets with water to sustain the day or sometimes the days or week while the rich on the other hand fill their swimming pools and jacuzzi with potable water lest their skin gets affected.

The politicians wish to keep the pressure of the water scarcity in the minds of the people at all times in spite of heavy rains. The “one time a day” water supply to the city has been on in spite of the heavy rains. Authorities say that the catchment areas are  still only 95% full….. this in the wake of a very good continuous and optimum rainfall.

The politicians now have started their vote bank politics whereby they are diverting water to their own jurisdiction in view of the upcoming elections and creating a false scarcity in the minds of people. In spite of the so-called water shortage the farmers in rural India are still being encouraged to grow water sucking cash crops like sugarcane. Sugarcane has been responsible for draining the water table but the politicians who own these agricultural farms  and the sugar factories pay no heed to the woes of the people and continue to grow them thereby diverting potable water to these water hungry parts of the state.

Water harvesting is something that is being used for domestic use and watering gardens in the city is something that these sugarcane growers have never even heard of. The corporations make it mandatory for all housing societies to install borewells and water harvesting in their premises. The same has not even been implemented in the rural areas which need the water more.

Many novel villages have now implemented various methods of water harvesting in their villages. Many man-made lakes have been created to supplement the water shortage and supply water to the villagers and farmers throughout the year. The technology used is cheap and expertise is available at lot of NGOs who provide them free of charge.

We have had a late monsoon this year but once it has started it has made up for the deficit. Most of the rivers and lakes are full but the irrigation dept says it is not enuf. These days the current slogan the parties are making is that the villages need water and so in spite of rain we have to live with water cuts and they divert the water to feed the water guzzling cash crops. It is as if my city is responsible for the water crisis of the entire state. These villages have not made any attempt at water harvesting or even changed their crop pattern to low water requiring crops.

The politicians are also investing in expensive townships which has water guzzling golf courts. All the potable water is being diverted to these townships to feed their swimming pools and man-made lakes while the people who deserve this water continue to live in the misconception of having a deficit rainfall and subsequent water cuts.

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