Water Crisis: Ignorance and appalling apathy of urban class
This may sound rude but face it, this is the truth. Bare hard facts slammed at your face. It makes me aghast at people’s ignorance and their hapless blind eye towards obvious and nearer disasters we are going to face. We are so engrossed in our materialistic utopian world that we rely on our poor imagination that money or something will save us. What has utterly failed us is our education.
Just scrolling through Instagram I came across a status which boasts a title:
Now, this may seem a very fair representation of data but in style of representation lies the misguided mindset. The agency and the author are US-based so they’ve hardly anything to do with India or rural India to be precise. What is disturbing is that this post was the status of a Delhi-based guy, who also happens to be IIT-ISM graduate. The guy, so disconnected with Indian rural realities couldn’t figure out the same farmers, distressed to breaking point, serve his bread & butter. Interesting to note, the guy is a celebrated member of Debating Society of the college.
The agriculture and related sectors are the livelihoods of 82% population of the country. Being the largest consumer of the world, we heavily depend on them for every grain we eat. Due to the lack of technology, information and knowledge, the farmers certainly don’t use water-cutting methods of agriculture. But who is to blame? The farmers? The govt. or we the so-called educated elites. I, myself being from IIT can claim with certainty that we are not looking for any solutions for farmers or rural India in general. Not at least in the proportion required and expected. All we worry about is a zero in our package.
Now coming to urbanites, who have themselves destroyed water ecology of cities. Let’s know the condition of 3 major cities in news for the water crisis- Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai.
Out of 611 water bodies in Delhi, 274 dried up and as many as 190 are lost forever. The newly constructed NCR region is no better. There’s a 40% decrease in water bodies in NCR. Just Gurugram alone lost 389 water bodies.
While Bengaluru lost 79% of water bodies in the last 40 years, Chennai competed well by losing 68% of water surface since 1954. All of these cities have enough rain surface area to provide ample water requirement. For example, Bengaluru with 800 mm annual rainfall and 1250 sq. km area could provide 2740 million litres of water daily. But mindless concretization has left no surface for water to sip in.
The cities are already borrowing water from villages and rivers, from water bodies for which we have done nothing and can’t claim on. (Bengaluru is borrowing water from reservoirs 140 km away). While the average water footprint in India is 3287L/day/person, the range for such cities would be around 7000–10000L/day/person. Those, consciously unconscious about their daily water usage would just dust it off calling it an exaggeration. But, calculate. Most of the houses don’t even bother to do simple things like having a rainwater harvesting system or low flow faucets or preferring tap over shower. From washing cars to pets, the list of reckless water waste is endless.
So one thing that is very clear is urbanites aren’t thirsty due to farmers. Rather than dying their own death, they are thriving due to the selflessness of the rural population.
This ignorance continues to shine brighter on the educated section is actually a blot. The education system works wonderfully at keeping us away from the realities of 82% population. And so, while debating with all vigour on intellectual and absurd issues, we just remain oblivion of things happening out of our floating frame.
There’s no wonder why 76% of our farming population wish to discontinue.
Our apathy towards farmers, water, environment and ground realities can continue to prosper. We can enjoy the days of ignorance in bliss. The truth will have its day that we haven’t taken the pain of turning an eye towards our own people, the people who provide us life — food, air and water.
While being in Indore I know that rural tribal people of Jhabua have harvested 720 million litres of water this rainy season. As of now, I haven't come across anything resembling this in the surrounding urban landscape. (Yes, that a few people donated). Who should be grateful for whom?