About 70 per cent of the planet is covered in water. This is why Earth is called the blue planet. Unfortunately, only about 2 per cent of the water available to us is potable.
In absolute terms it may seem like there is a lot of water available to everyone, yet drought is a common occurrence, and even the water that is consumed isn’t always safe, as evinced by the prevalence of water-borne diseases.
Safe, clean water therefore is a concern for everyone from the government to the common man. But the problem is that we take water almost for granted. Accustomed as we are to adapting, city-dwellers soon get used to water rationing, and structure days around “when the water comes”.
But this is not the answer. Water is a right to be enjoyed by all and conserving it is equally the responsibility of all. It is simply not fair that some residents of the city get water supply for two hours a day, and some for 24. Some don’t get any water at all, and rely on water tankers.
This is not a situation that we should do nothing about, neither is it something that nothing can be done about. The demand for fresh water resources is accelerating, and competition for fresh water is an increasing global concern.
At a macro level, it may seem that we individuals cannot do much to stem the depletion of water resources, but let us not forget the law of synergy that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
If each of us takes even one step towards saving water, it can and will go a long way. Public figures have endorsed the use of bucket baths instead of showers to save water, but remember that is counter-productive if you keep the tap running while using the bucket! So the lesson is, turn that tap off while brushing your teeth, while shaving, while applying detergent on dishes and washing the car.
We may crib about the municipality’s advice to save water while we see it being wasted elsewhere. But we should complain only when we ourselves are doing the right thing. Water conservation is no longer a choice, but a must.