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How did the young, glamorous wife of former US ambassador to India, Richard Celeste, step out of the glitzy Page 3 of tabloids to help bring potable water to so many villages in India? "It began with taking our houseguests on field trips across India when Dick was ambassador," recalls Jacqueline. "They would fall in love with India and many of them wanted to give something back."
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There is definitely a crisis of water in India. But it is always articulated within the narrow confines of 'shortfall' and 'scarcity'. We are ignoring the fact there is a serious crisis of management, of over-consumption, pollution and worse, glaring inequity of water access by the poor. With World Water Day (March 22) around the corner, we'd like to ignore the scaremongering about the world running out of water, and ask instead if along with water, wisdom to manage it is also in short supply.
The United Nations World Water Day (which was observed on the 22nd of this month) with its emphasis on sustainable development, is a reminder for us to reflect on our self-created paradox of poisoning rivers which are our life source. With ambitious projects like Namami Gange, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to sow the seeds of sustainable progress and to develop a world-class approach to water management.