Written by Saanchi Biyani, a grade 5 student.
Do you know how much it costs to purchase 1 liter of water? Approximately, in terms of Rupees, it is Rs. 116 In Norway, Rs.88 in the US, Rs. 49 in South Africa, Rs. 32 in China, and Rs. 18 in India
Isn’t this worrisome, specifically, when water is a critical resource, a daily need, and a human right?
Why is a cost attached to water when it should be made available as a free resource? Well, the answer lies in its supply and demand situation; how we have treated water over the years.
What does water mean to you? To me, it is life. Did I hear, it is life for you too – It must be. If it is, let me ask a couple of more questions – do you save water, the way you save money, do you value water, the way you value relationships? I don’t want you to react to my questions, rather, read this article, take a pause and take positive action in ensuring you contribute towards preserving water, saving lives.
India and its water quotient…
India is currently ranked 120 among the 122 countries in the water quality index (2019 report). It has just 4% of the world’s freshwater — but 16% of the global population.
- 76 million are without access to safe drinking water.
- 21% of the country’s diseases are water-related.
- 0.2 million people die every year due to inadequate water supply. Over 329, 000 children under five die due to diarrhoea in India in 2015.
- Women spend 150 million workdays every year fetching and carrying water, equivalent to a national loss of income of INR 10 billion.
Further, it is expected that (and much more)…
- 40% of the population will have no access to drinking water by 2030
- 70% of water will be contaminated by 2030
- The 2018 Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) noted that 6% of economic GDP will be lost by 2050
The supply and demand of water…
The world has a total of around 332.5 million mi3 (cubic miles) (a cubic mile of water is equal to 1.1 trillion gallons) of water, of which, over 96.5% is saline. If all of Earth’s water was put into a sphere, then the diameter of that water ball would be about 860 miles (about 1,385 kms). Of total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers, another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground. (Source: usgs.gov, livescience.com). Around 2.5% of the water on Earth is freshwater and therefore suitable for human use. Of this, only 1% is readily available as a water supply, mainly from lakes, rivers, and groundwater. A growing population and economic shift have led to increased water withdrawals for agricultural (~60%), industry (~30%), and domestic use (~10%). In 2014, the withdrawal was around 4 trillion m3. This varies from country to country. For instance, in 2014, India’s withdrawal was 760 billion m3 highest among the BRICS nations. Approximately 200 gallons of water per day is required for home use (cleaning, washing, bath, cooking, etc.), while, the human body requires half a gallon a day. (Source: ourworldindata.org)
The significance of World Water Day…
Celebrated on the 22nd of March of every year, World Water Day focuses on the importance of freshwater. The idea for this international day goes back to 1992. International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern. The days focus on mobilizing political will and resources to address global problems and celebrate achievements.
22nd March is celebrated as water day and it raises awareness for the people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis.
Did you know that some 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year? That’s nearly two-thirds of the global population!
This year, the theme of Water Day was ‘Valuing Water’. UN-Water mentioned, “The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.”
People and organizations mark the day every year by taking action to tackle the water crisis in different ways. Some of the instances for this year include:
- People used social media to support catalysing conversations about water and engaging in digital discussions through #Water2me and #WorldWaterDay.
- Schools, Colleges, Societies ran painting and debate competitions to spread awareness for conserving & valuing water.
- In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign for starting the Ken-Betwa Link project.
- In Durban, the UN launched the 2017 World Water Development Report (WWDR) titled “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource” and the High Level Panel on Water unveiled the initiative on “Access to water and sanitation for 10 billion people” to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- In Singapore, the city skyline ( a record 44 landmarks and buildings) turned into a sea of blue to mark World Water Day, as the country showed its commitment to water sustainability.
The concluding remarks…
70% of our body is nothing but water. Water helps in regulating body temperature, protects tissues, excrete waste, aids in digestion, among others. Water is life for the environment and ecosystems. It’s a human right through conserving water should be everyone’s responsibility. The crux of the matter is that it is important to preserve water, else, the day is not far, when we would have banks not to transact and save money but water. Let’s pledge to statement ‘Water makes us beautiful’, and, intensify efforts that account for attention to preserve and provide quality water, to all, and save lives.