Your editorial “Water Woes” (Afternoon Voice – April 14) has reminded me the words of William Ashworth that “Children of a culture born in a water-rich environment, we have never really learned how important water is to us. We understand it, but we do not respect it.” Water is central to our lives but has not been the central point of focus in our planning while we rapidly evolve into an urban society. Maharashtra has witnessed drought in the last 3 years. More than 1,000 farmers have committed suicide till date this year. Despite spending over Rs. 70,000 crore on projects, the State has managed to increase its irrigation potential only by 0.01 per cent in the last one decade. Further, water levels in dams across the State are falling rapidly with Marathwada being the worst affected. At present, storage in all projects in this region is a mere 14 per cent of actual capacity. The water situation in other parts of the State such as North Maharashtra, Amravati and Nagpur division is also bad. The water scarcity is mostly man made due to excess population growth and mismanagement of water resources. Looking to the government estimates, last year more than 19,000 villages in Maharashtra had no access to water which shows that India is likely to face threat of a drought this year also as monsoon rains are expected to be weaker than average. The government needs to enhance its investment in technology and include all stakeholders at the planning level to ensure optimization of existing resources. A small steady water leak can cause a loss of 250,000 litres of water per year. Unless we are aware and conscious of water wastage we will not be able to avail the basic quantity of water that we need to carry on with our normal lives.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)