With the infrequent amount of rain Mumbai has received in the monsoon, water cuts are now inevitable, and the dwindling resources are reason for concern. Initially, just as the monsoon had begun, reports had come in that lake levels were high, and Mumbaikars were bullish about water reserves.
Today, all that seems to have been misplaced and there is a very real shadow of serious water shortage hanging over the city. Many Mumbaikars think that water shortage is something for farmers and those living in the rural belt, and that this is not an issue that will affect them much.
This is dangerous thinking and unnecessary complacency. Not to sound alarmist, but the shortage is very real and can start having widespread ramifications in a couple of days. It is imperative that citizens make saving water non-negotiable. Save water campaigns already started in schools must have a sense of urgency and vigour. Television channels must play messages about it for constant reinforcement. Keep telling people to turn off the tap when not needed, use buckets instead of showers for bathing, avoid unnecessarily throwing out water — these are just some ways we can actually make saving water a part of our lives.
It is important that people learn just how they can save water. Let the civic body and state government use social media to tell people that everybody has a stake in this, it is not somebody else’s problem, but yours and mine too.
In the larger context, there are great challenges globally to preserve water resources, and experts have stated that the next wars between countries will actually be fought over water. This is not empty or extreme rhetoric. Today thanks to the Internet and fast communication, we all are global citizens. Let us be aware that we may be on the brink of a water crisis. Just a small amount saved by everybody, daily, can add up to an ocean. Let us try to remember to do our bit, every day.