DR IMTIYAZ RASOOL GANAI
It is a worrisome situation that fresh water resources are shrinking. Neither the govt nor teh general public can be complacent with the present scenario. We can gauge the situation from the fact that India’s has 1428 kiloliter per year water availability which is below average i.e., 1700 kiloliter. The quality fresh water is depleting at an alarming rate. We use 80% fresh water for agricultural purposes. J&K enjoyed the privilege to possess thousands of fresh water resources which not only sufficed the need of drinking water but used to be exploited for irrigation and hydropower needs; now it is heading towards fresh water crisis. Govt is spending enough to develop sustainable resources for posterity. But the situation of water bodies in JK is grim as they face encroachments, pollution and a general apathy from people.
The unabated activities in and around the water bodies have made them susceptible to pollution, depletion and deterioration. In depth appraisal of water bodies from rural areas makes us visualize that once villages used to be sources of fresh water reservoirs. Brooks, rivulets streams, and springs gushing with fresh water face threat and are most vulnerable; hence a cry for survival. it is incredible that they now yearn for safe water and their conservation is indispensable. These villages suffer due to acute shortage of potable water as the heritage water resources are polluted and choked by solid waste, household refusals, polythene bags, plastic substances and wrappers, and indiscriminate encroachments. The aquatic ecosystem is badly disturbed by toxic substances.
Paddy fields were either converted to housing Colonies or Into Horticulture orchards as they suffered from shortage of irrigation facilities. The streams, rivulets, waterfalls, wells, ponds, rivers have become the dumping sites due to lack of cleaning provisions in villages. The concerned departments are shrugging shoulders due to lack of synergy and controls and people have become insensible because there is less accountability and the rear checks and measures. Government programmes and policies are flouted due to lack of vigil. The ecology department, pollution control board, Jal shakti department and allied rural development departments need to make joint efforts to involve the general public for water conservation measures. A comprehensive sensitivity on water pollution must reflect in halting the inflow of solid and liquid waste into these bodies. The choked and polluted water bodies need to be revived and rejuvenated, at a war footing, by active involvement of people and the concerned departments.
CRSP (central rural sanitation programme) in 1986 laid emphasis to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas. The rural sanitation envisages collecting and disposing of solid and liquid waste in a hygienic way so that threat to health can be averted. The need of the hour is to dispose of waste material scientifically. The villages lack dumping sites for waste material which is also the cause of pollution in villages. What is also missing is a good civic sense among masses. It is our moral duty to create awareness among people regarding environmental sanitation. Under the renewed swachhata campaign under SBM - G II govt is constituting village sanitation committees at Gram Panchayat level to frame action plan for village sanitation and waste management with mandate to mobilize stakeholders at village level. This will build public movement for elimination of single use of plastic and to take steps to conserve surface and groundwater. Community based organizations need to be pressed in to saving these water resources. Govt must monitor the process keenly at three levels; state, district and block.
The action taken reports need to be submitted after taking fresh surveys on all water bodies. It is essential to establish small sewerage plants around most of the endangered water bodies so that precious water can be recycled safely. Cleaning drive and water conservation drive demands attention from all stakeholders. Presently these pristine water bodies need cleaning drives at a war footing. Those found indulging in water pollution should be penalized and strict action should be taken against such people. Let’s all contribute to the conservation of sustainable water resources. Otherwise we will have to pay a huge price and suffer a colossal loss in the future. A stitch in time saves nine.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.