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Warriors of India - Initiative towards Pure and Ample water'
water supply and waste water management should be looked in
an integrated way.
It is desirable to think of water supply, sanitation and wastewater in an
integrated way. This implies that the cost of an integrated solution will
be much lower than a solution at a later stage by a separate institution
based on different cost recovery system. In big cities dealing with
wastewater and offsite sanitation is often integrated. However, in the
Indian case we also learn that this tends to be limited to the area of the
Municipal Commission, leaving the rest of the city to the development
authorities or even district authorities, who tend to have less money and
no money raising responsibilities.
As a result we at our movement will make government and people aware to
manage useable water and waste water with same assiduousness.
is a need for regulation in the system The need for well-defined
roles and responsibilities is clear.
It is also necessary to make the institutional arrangements between the
municipality and the private sector explicit. There needs to be a
regulatory framework and the authorities need to take their
responsibility. As public utilities are not usually subject to the
disciplines of the market, they have fewer incentives to minimize costs
(and maximize tariff collection rates). Regulatory arrangements can
stimulate them to look at their cost, for example through a system of
The design of an effective institutional framework is a challenge in large
metropolitan areas. If not done well, the existence of multiple
institutions with primary or secondary responsibilities in sanitation can
become a hindrance to effective development and management of sanitation
services. A case in point is Bangalore where mandates not only overlap,
but have also been defined at different levels, and for different
technologies. Here, effective co-ordination is absent, as a result of
which the services cannot be run effectively. So, if each section of the
society is made aware of its role, such commotion won't arise at all, this
is also an area where water warriors will emphasize.
cannot be ignored
Financing is crucial. What is the financial basis for supplying water and
sanitation services? Some of the cost recovery mechanisms currently used
includes infrastructure charges, connection fees, environmental user fees
and local taxes. Raising sufficient revenue to cover for the cost is
difficult. As already emphasized, the costs of these services are high and
at the same time, the demand is usually little developed and the
willingness to pay is low, and lower than that for other services.
In addition, enforcement of payment for sanitation and waste water
services is difficult, as one cannot simply disconnect as is done with
other utilities such power and telecoms. Yet, any sustainable water
management initiative must address the key issues of financing and cost
recovery. In this context, raising the awareness of the need to have
adequate wastewater and sanitation services, of the range of technologies,
and of the cost of such services and of the inevitability of cost recovery
in return for good service quality is a precondition for effectiveness.
User participation is yet another key to success in wastewater services:
several urban case studies have shown that willingness to pay is above
expected levels in cases where the users have been given a chance to
consciously participate in the selection and establishment of the
Various cost recovery mechanisms or economic instruments can be applied to
recover (at least) the operational cost of urban sanitation and the
treatment of wastewater. These include user charges, effluent charges and
taxation. There should be provision of 'polluter pays' in which the costs
of wastewater management charged to a customer are calculated in function
of wastewater quantity and pollution load. Household charges may be
uniform and based on an assumed pollution equivalent, or a volumetric rate
based on recorded water consumption. High charges may encourage
pre-treatment and even process-redesign by industries in an effort to
optimize water and wastewater costs. (Too) high charges may also have
undesired effects such as illegal discharges inside or outside the
wastewater system. So water warriors through advocating such policies will
ensure maximizing of utility under the constraints of minimizing cost.
The youth consortium of water warriors will cater specifically to all the
above concerned issues. Having discussed the current scenario, reasons and
the issues and their specific solution regarding the water management in
India, now we shift our emphasis on the ways in which an individual or a
locality can take measures to solve its own major water problem
Urban centres in India are facing an ironical situation today. On one hand
there is the acute water scarcity and on the other, the streets are often
flooded during the monsoons. This has led to serious problems with quality
and quantity of groundwater. This is despite the fact that all these cities receive good rainfall.
However, this rainfall occurs during short spells of high intensity. (Most
of the rain falls in just 100 hours out of 8,760 hours in a year). Because
of such short duration of heavy rain, most of the rain falling on the
surface tends to flow away rapidly leaving very little for recharge of
groundwater. As water shortage increases, alternative sources of water
supply are gaining importance. These include sewage recycle, rainwater
harvesting, generating water form humidity in the atmosphere etc.
Water recycle through rain water harvesting is a simple, effective and
economical solution to conserve water so that more fresh water is
available for essential uses drinking, bathing, cooking and laundry.
Population, industrialization and pollution are putting pressure on our
limited fresh water resource. There is limit to increasing water supply
because we are running out of sources and cost of additional facilities is
prohibitive. The best way to solve water problem therefore is by
conserving water and recycling it wherever possible. Recycling must be
made mandatory far all new projects- industrial or domestic and even
should be promoted to existing buildings also.
One of the solutions to the urban water crisis and the best way to recycle
water is 'Rainwater Harvesting - capturing the runoff.' Rain harvesting
will be really efficient in areas where there is inadequate groundwater
supply or surface resources are either lacking or insufficient, it
drastically reduces urban flooding from which our two major cities Mumbai
and Chennai suffered drastically last year
Rain water harvesting
is an ancient concept, the implementation of it does not requires any
major technology and the cost is even low, as compared to the benefits
cost should not even be considered. At this juncture it's worth mentioning
the ways in which an individual of the society can take part in such a
Rainwater harvesting can be harvested from the following surfaces:
If buildings with impervious roofs are already in place, the catchment
area is effectively available free of charge and they provide a supply at
the point of consumption. Paved and unpaved areas i.e., landscapes, open
fields, parks, storm water drains, roads and pavements and other open
areas can be effectively used to harvest the runoff. The main advantage in
using ground as collecting surface is that water can be collected from a
larger area. This is part of the community project to be undertaken
Water bodies: The potential of lakes, tanks and ponds to store rainwater
is immense. The harvested rainwater can not only be used to meet water
requirements of the city, it also recharges groundwater aquifers.
Storm water drains:
Most of the residential colonies have proper network of storm water
drains. If maintained neatly, these offer a simple and cost effective
means for harvesting rainwater.
Rain water though stored will only serve the purpose if properly filtered
to meet the major drinking water needs. For this effect major invention in
the field has been made which provides proper rain water purification
mechanisms. These purification system works on the normal treatment method
involving screening, flocculation sedimentation and filtration.
These purification systems are also available for micro scale projects to
serve the need of a household. Such purification systems are simple in
installing and easy to operate. The most important feature is that they
don't require electricity.
Many entrepreneurs of industries tend to forget the fact that they are
part of the living society and in turn they tend to foster the production
of negative externality. It should be made mandatory for each industry to
install water management solutions to recycle its waste water for reuse.
Major step in this front is through the development of Industrial effluent
recycle solution which integrates physiochemical, biological and membrane
separation processes for optimum water recovery. They achieve water
management through water recycle and source reduction, and waste
management through product recovery and waste minimization. They are cost
effective as they recover valuable products for reuse while recycling
which gives industries a good return on their investment while protecting
the environment and even the common people as it reduces the water usage
of industries and transmittance of waste to water bodies.
After emphasizing the ways of tackling the problem through rain water
harvesting and other recycling options, the following paragraphs paves the
way to the essence of the whole discussion; it illuminates the role of the
youth in curbing the problem of such a magnitude which can pose a threat
to the very existence of the mankind in this world.
Any amount of government expenditure cannot solve this problem unless and
until the community as a whole in its full might rise to the occasion and
work for it.
In India the role of youth cannot be under estimated as India in its
demography cycle has a position of Young India with more than half of
India's population below the age of 35 years. The youth of the nation has
to take part in mass movement of awareness; they have to be the 'Water
warriors of India'
In this approach the youth will be enlightened to serve their locality and
curb the water problem. Each locality in city will have its own group of
members named as the water warriors whose primary work will be to impart
awareness among the residents regarding rain water harvesting. Charity
begins at home, so in the first step the members have to set up rain water
harvesting system in their respective houses, so that they can put forward
examples and other people can replicate these. Water warriors of
respective localities will provide assistance in setting up of the system
of rain water harvesting. In certain cases possible community projects can
be taken as a whole where large tanks are to be constructed to store rain
water. Major foray of water warriors will be in water harvesting but it
will also simultaneously ensure that water is being properly utilized.
The promotion techniques will include the most believable of all-
word-of-mouth, apart from other conventional means of imparting awareness
such as newspapers, hoarding etc, as water warriors will be a youth forum,
the awareness and membership will be imparted through the largest network
of World Wide Web.
The major question which remained unanswered is that why will any
youth join this consortium of water warrior?
The answer to this question can be traced from last year experience
of major cities of west and south India, which were struck by floods,
the irony was that there was water everywhere but there was no water
to drink, no water to cook food, no water to survive life. This
incident in major way has brought into notice the major problem
of water management in our country, and it's the younger generations
who have to foray into the scene, join the consortium and solve
the problem simply because of the reason that we are the people
who have to destine the future of ours as well as coming generation.
It was first time that major important cities of India had confronted
such a problem which made youth aware of the reality, and steps
has to be taken to overcome the harsh realities of water mismanagement.
Among the factors that constrain performance of water management
in India are:
poor levels of service particularly for sanitation, inadequate pricing
policies (poor cost recovery), undue political interference with
service provision, highly centralized character of the sector, lack
of accountability, lack of continuation in policies and programmes,
low levels of productivity and efficiency and inadequate training
or management and sector staff. These factors are exacerbated by
external factors such as of population growth, urbanization, and
economic development that jointly drive a growth in demand that
providers fail to cope with. Successful approaches that has to be
considered at macro level for policies should be effective decentralization,
integration of hygiene and sanitation activities, demand-driven
approaches, cost recovery and good governance, and focus on poverty
alleviation, equitable distribution of health services, and gender-sensitive
It is heartening to note that in India, the water supply sector is at last
moving away from an infrastructure- creation approach to a consolidation
But India still needs to make substantial infrastructure is that its
growth has not been accompanied by an improvement in the quality of
governance of water services in the country and that the water sector
suffered from a policy of 'build- neglect and rebuild'. Therefore,
government and its agencies should not merely concern them with fixing
pipes but also fixing institutions that fix pipes
These were the approaches at macro level but for effective utilization of
these policies the work has to start from micro level, from each and every
We as youth through our voice need to create awareness about the
importance of water in the community so that mindset, attitudes, and
habits change proactively rather than wait for legislation and regulation.
Together we must work to see that waste of this precious resource is
minimizes and we are able to conserve fresh water for future generations.
There is need to grab the water problem by the scruff of its neck. Enough
has been written, discussed about the problem, hardly anybody takes a look
at the solution. Residents of the locality blame it on the government;
government on the other hand overlooks it as a seasonal or short term
problem. Therefore, there is a need of a paradigm shift from problems to
the solution, from despair to problem solving, form now to future. This is
what the youth movement of water warriors will be about.
The water warrior campaign's, ultimate goal will be to see a world as an
agglomeration of ecological - water harvesting - democracies.
While writing this essay I, myself is gulping marketed mineral water,
because the water supply in my locality is not safe for drinking, but
after completing the essay it's assured that we as 'Water Warriors' will
promise the world of pure and ample water. Back to Water Warriors of India
a student of Economics Honours, Sri Venkateswara Collge, Delhi University