Amit Dave / Reuters
Amit Dave / Reuters
By Prof. Asit K. Biswas* India's water management has been on an unsustainable path for centuries. The Mughal Emperor Akbar decided to build a new capital at Fatehpur Sikri (City of Victory). An Eng...
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India is enjoying a good monsoon this year, but the fact is that a Latur or a Bundelkhand could happen again. The time has come for water experts to impress upon key stakeholders the need to get innovative and adopt alternative water supply solutions by leveraging advanced technologies. By doing so, we would make sustainable and reliable water supply “weather independent”. After all, a single year of abundant rainfall likely won’t replenish historically depleted water sources!
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For how long can India afford to depend on the vagaries of the monsoons to determine its growth? Let not the bountiful rains this year give us the easy option of postponing the challenge of ensuring India’s water security for an uncertain future. We have to commit to the basic 5 Ps of water management in India.
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As my jeep tumbles along the incredibly bumpy mud road to Palukur village in Kandukur, Andhra Pradesh, I am surprised to see that the villages look quite normal. In my head, drought-affected villages looked like deserts. Palukur itself features dusty, scattered vegetation, cows and buffaloes roaming around, and a clutter of small, clean houses. The villages in Prakasam district--the worst affected in the state--bear more internal wounds than external.
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.
After more than 30 years working in the water sector, I am convinced that working hand-in-hand with municipalities and all stakeholders is the main challenge to implement innovative, sustainable and equitable solutions that meet cities' and industries' expectations and needs. Whatever the location and the context, I would say that the water sector has to meet five main requirements to ensure access to water for all.