Warriors of India - Initiative Towards Pure and Ample water'
Essay on Topic 1:
How do you contribute to solving community problems? 'Water Warriors
of India - Initiative towards Pure and Ample water'
No water or contaminated water
is commonplace news in the national or regional dailies of India.
Such incidents are termed by newspapers as mismanagement
of the government, bureaucrats calls it unfortunate incidents and
the governing authorities term it as accident. Whatever the term
used it's the shame to the whole mankind that even being in 21st
century, with such high development of technology some of our fellow
beings living in certain sections of the society has a threat to
ill health and in some cases succumb their lives to shackles of
death because of water which itself is the originator of life.
Now, the questions to be asked are:-
these water problems beyond hope? No. Can we have ample and pure
water? Yes. Such incidents occur throughout India. Year after year,
whether or not the monsoon is officially declared "good",
whether or not there is an "official" drought.
all of India solve its water (and water-related) problems?
Self help is the best help, each and every being of the community
has to take a step to solve its own problem and the best step
to solve water problem is to catch and store water where it
falls through 'Rain water harvesting.' Rain will usher local
food security, from rain will come biomass-wealth that will
eradicate ecological poverty. From rain will come social harmony.
Rainwater harvesting is what India can choose, and the youth
consortium which will bring paradigm shift in this process
will be 'Water Warriors of India'
an irony that India being surrounded by water bodies on three
sides, house of 13 major rivers, largest river island (Majuli),
highest rainfall ( Mausingram) and many other facts which
reflects India's dominance in water resources, yet we face
shortages every year.
Consider this -
the per capita water availability in India was 3450 cu m in
1952. It stands at 1800 cu m now and by estimates by 2025
it will fall to 1200 - 1500 cu m per person. Even though the
rate of urbanization in India is among the lowest in the world,
the nation has more than 250 million city-dwellers. Experts
predict that this number will rise even further, and by 2020,
about 50 per cent of India's population will be living in
cities. This is going to put further pressure on the already
strained centralized water supply systems of urban areas.
The urban water supply and sanitation sector in the country
is suffering from inadequate levels of service, an increasing
demand-supply gap, poor sanitary conditions and deteriorating
financial and technical performance.
Supply of water is highly
erratic and unreliable.
Transmission and distribution networks are old and poorly maintained,
and generally of a poor quality. Consequently physical losses are
typically high, ranging from 25 to over 50 per cent. Low pressures
and intermittent supplies allow back siphoning, which results in
contamination of water in the distribution network. Water is typically
available for only 2-8 hours a day in most Indian cities. The situation
is even worse in summer when water is available only for a few minutes,
sometimes not at all. Looking at the condition at
metro cities of India:
Mumbai's demand for water is expected to rise to 7,970 MLD (million
litres daily) by 2011, current supply is 3100 MLD which already
constitutes a substantial shortfall as the city receives only 2,500
MLD, the balance lost on account of leakages and pilferage. In the
capital itself Delhi the supply of water is around 650 million gallons
of water per day against the demand of 750 million.
According to a World Bank study, of the 27 Asian cities with
populations of over 1,000,000, Chennai and Delhi are ranked as the
worst performing metropolitan cities in terms of hours of water
availability per day, while Mumbai is ranked as second worst performer
and Calcutta fourth worst
All these was regarding the shortage of water but the analysis remains
incomplete if we don't emphasize on the quality of water available
for drinking. Whether the water is potable? The fact is that it
is deteriorating fast. As early as in 1982 it was reported that
70 per cent of all available water in India was polluted. The situation
is much worse today. There are daily news reports on prime dailies
showing the pictures of the contaminated water available in various
localities of the city for drinking. The colour of the contaminated
water supplied to these areas is worse to urine. Over extraction
of ground water has led to salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers.
It has also resulted in problems of excessive fluoride, iron, arsenic
and salinity in water affecting about 44 million people in India.
Ground water is facing an equally serious threat from contamination
by industrial effluent as well as pesticides and fertilizer from
farm run-offs. Sanitation and water management should be looked
at simultaneously. Too often attention is focused on drinking water
supply, leaving sanitation and wastewater treatment for later. However,
for every 100 litres of water going into a house about 90 litres
will have to leave the plot again. Unless priority is given quickly
to creating an infrastructure to assure availability of water, there
may be no water to meet the agricultural, domestic and industrial
needs of a population that has tripled in 50 years to more than
terms of availability and most importantly quality is therefore
major challenge not only for town planners, state and central governments
but being citizen of the world's largest democracy it's our supreme
duty to overcome the hurdles regarding the water management and
water warriors will take initiative in gratifying this duty.
Water supply is an 'institutional process' and an institutional
framework for effective water supply and sanitation has to comply
with the functions of policy, regulation and sector organization,
management of quality, infrastructure and on-site sanitation. So
we discuss about the major issues and their solution concerning
institutional options in water problem and sanitation in Indian
community, analysis can be further extended to other developing
Water supply should treat to all sections of society, but poor
people are neglected Institutions in developing countries dealing
with water and sanitation issues have rarely been designed to cater
for large numbers of poor people.
At the level of operations, public utilities are often constrained
by bureaucratic requirements. For instance there is often considerable
inflexibility in the management of human resources within public
utilities. Given the complexity of the problem in many countries
there are a number of separate agencies responsible for wastewater
and sanitation, particular in the case of public sector provision.
For this, the
role of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
such as ours, particularly in low cost sanitation, community participation
and creating public awareness has to be very positive. In cities,
community toilets has to be constructed and managed mainly by NGOs
or private firms, based on the 'user pays' principle or as a charity.
We will be active in raising awareness concerning health, hygiene,
slum development, solid waste collection and disposal issue and
equitable distribution of facilities. The challenge remains to increase
the impact of these initiatives by multiplying them on a larger
scale or mainstreaming the approach in the leading institutions
for water and sanitation in India.
Should privatization of water be done and confusion regarding the
delegation of roles between public and private sector?
An important issue according to this is the division of responsibilities
between the government and the private sector. Ideally the government
would set the framework, but there is often market failure. Then
governments get involved and find it difficult to pull out. Also
the type and scale of technology is important and has consequences
for the management and financing. The larger the scale, the bigger
the financial implications. In that case governments will also be
more inclined to involve the private sector. But majority of the
public opinion favors water as a common resource while showing reservation
about policy that seeks to make water a commodity of the state.
adopted by states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan are being opposed
by several groups including the environmentalists.
A largely felt perception held by the people is that governments
in India are buckling under pressure from the World Bank. These
policies, it is felt, help declare water as a state property, which
later facilitates its conversion into private property. But is the
privatization of water the only viably efficient solution to our
shoddy management of water resources?
The division between the public and private sector requires answering
the question which tasks each one is fulfilling? To ensure effective
provision of sanitation services it is imperative to have a good
understanding of the roles and responsibilities of every entity
(be it public or private) and the technologies used to perform its
task. The emergence of the private sector and the users themselves
as alternative providers leads to a formulation of a large number
of institutional modes for the provision of services with private
sector involvement. These modes vary from simple service contract
to complete divestiture to the private sector, and a large variety
of models for user involvement as owners or in the management. On
the other hand we as participants of the youth movement in water
through our ways of harvesting water along with water activists,
environmentalist and policy makers will work to provide alternatives
to water policies so that the government and people are made aware
that there are ways other than privatization to manage the country's
Willingness to pay or to contribute for water supply and sanitation
Effective demand for water and sanitation is often weak if measured
by the willingness to pay or contribute to for example the installation
of sanitary services. Public demand in context of making payments
for water supply and sanitation services systems is low in spite
of the high social cost assigned to the polluted sites. The public
sector has also become increasingly aware of the high political
risk of a significant raise in basic rates for providing these services.
elements of such systems are appropriate policies, laws and regulations,
institutions, technologies and cost recovery systems.
There is a need to look for appropriate technological solutions
and to involve the people at the preparation and implementation
stage. In general the public is interested in getting sanitation
facilities, but not very much concerned about the treatment of wastewater
or the necessary off plot sanitation facilities. This usually means
a limited willingness to pay and a negative attitude towards involving
private parties. Water warriors in its programme will organize campaign
stressing on bringing water democracy by ensuring that every drop
is conserved, harvested and shared by the people.
Contributing Writer -
student of Economics Honours, Sri Venkateswara Collge, Delhi University