The world is changing much faster than we can imagine. The amenities that once used to be called “luxury possessions” are now basic part of life. The innovation is driving the world and believe me, no one can stop it. Whatsoever, you can imagine in your weird dreams, it is going to become a reality sooner or later. May it be mobile phones who have over shadowed the markets for digital cameras, you need not go to banks anymore, you do not need calculators for complex calculations, you need not go to the market to buy your monthly ration or even buy the clothes you need; the list will be endless. And this is the same mobile phone for which we had to pay Rs.16/- per minutes to receive calls some 2 decades aback.
Go to the airports and you will find equal or some time more people that you will find in railway stations. Buying a four-wheeler or a home that once used to be a hidden dream is not a tough call now. They have become affordable or if I put it in right frame, the companies have made them affordable for their survival. More and more people are travelling and infrastructure has to grow to meet the requirements.
The race for a paradigm shift to new phase of life has begun. The only thing that remain stagnant is our Earth and it’s natural resources. The need is to use them wisely and together find alternate ways to save the same. The scientists are exploring possibilities of having a life on Moon and even Mars. Their basic search is to look for Water on the moon or red planet. If there is water, there is life.
Every alternate day, I see one or the other conference or panel discussion on Water. Everyone knows that this is a serious subject and if we do not work on this issue today, we may not be able to tackle it tomorrow. There are more or less common solutions that I read and hear to tackle this issue: Consume less, close tap while brushing, use less water for bathing, use waste water for gardening and so on. The naked truth is that while we talk about all these remedies, sitting in the five star hotels or air conditioned room where we are being served with packed water bottles; we use part of that water and leave the half-filled bottle there itself to be thrown away. The hotels have to do that as per hygiene norms. You will find many other examples in daily routine where we do not walk the talk. Whom should we blame for that?
I feel that we need to think and act much beyond than what we have been doing today and engineers have a major role to play here. I would not say that we should not save water but why don’t we work out a mechanism and develop technologies wherein we do not have to a think on such minute action plans. Why don’t we work on making availability of water much enough that no one is left behind. Three forth of Earth has water, may be in any form as that is not so important if I see it as an Engineer. Today, India uses only 39% of it’s available total water and according to estimates, even in 2050 we will be consuming only 61% of available water. The issue today is not the availability of water but availability of right quality of water for the right usage, may it be for drinking, for agriculture, for food processing or for construction. So, what we need is “management of water” that we should think upon.
There is abundance of sea water and it is possible to use the desalination process and other technologies to change the quality of water and make it suitable for drinking or usage in other applications. There may be an initial high cost to put up these plants but are we so poor that we cannot afford it? I donot agree that we as a country are so poor that we cannot afford it. The issue is that everyone wants a side seat and easy go through. The technocrats do not want to take a tough stand and recommend best available technology and solutions. The regulatory bodies talk about the costs to a common man rather than framing policies and working out solutions to make water affordable to all. The political parties are more interested into vote bank rather than taking firm actions against the culprits who pollute the water. No one is actually working on a solution to make water in abundance quantity and in best quality and rather asking to consume less. For ages, we have been advocating that we respect our rivers but do we really respect the rivers? Actually, no. We have made them a garbage bin and we do not treat them more than that. If you believe in Indian history (I will not name it mythology and as I don’t think that it’s a myth), do recall that “Ganga ji” was brought-in to the earth to save the mankind. I once heard a saint saying that Ganga ji wanted to go back but was requested by our great rishis to stay back. However, Ganga ji told him that that day she will not be respected, she will go back. There is a Clean – Ganga movement but how many of us know what exactly it is? I have met a couple of people who declare them attached to the movement but the hidden truth is that they are trying to find a business opportunities for them in this movement and get the profits. Same I have observed on “Rally for Rivers”.
I have 3-point solution to overcome the water issue;
- The technocrats must take a firm stand and propose the solution and technologies that are innovative, needs least maintenance and are ever- lasting. If they are being asked to cut the innovations due to cost economics, the answer should be: “That’s not my job. My job is to propose the best solution and that is what I will do”.
- The regulatory bodies should firm up their stand and do the metering mandatory for each industry and even to the people of all segments, may it be super rich or below poverty line. No tolerance here. But the metering should be done at the outlet and not at the inlet. The polluter or the one who wastes the water, he should pay. The industry who is throwing it’s pollutants in the rivers or canals should be banned immediately. No notice, no warning! One action: close the industry. We will have trouble for some time but such stringent actions are needed if you are a real regulator and concerned on the issue.
- The third point: What should government do?May it be any political party, do not forget that world does not recognize you for your individual strengths. For them, you are a part of a frame work that is responsible for governing the country for next few years. So, drive the policies and projects that are helpful to the country as a whole. Start building infrastructure and make investments in the new innovations. Support the technocrats and policy regulators in the decisions.
Finally, what common man needs to do is to demand clean water, clean energy and sustainable future. The drive has to be a mass drive and the day when everyone decides to do his/her best to make the drive successful, we achieve the mission of “not leaving anyone behind”
Deeepak Vaidya | email@example.com
Deepak has a strong opinion that Innovation is the key to survival and India should invest more and more on the Research & Development.
Info: The Institution of Engineers (INDIA) provide INTPE – International Professional Engineers Certification to know more visit www.ieindia.org or contact Faridabad Local center