By Dr Monika Sharma, Newton Fund Delivery Programme Manager
Majority of the earth surface is covered with water (~71%) and it serves as one of the most vital component for all the life forms. Water on Earth moves continually through the cycle of evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, reaching the sea and escaping into the streams, lakes, and oceans.
India is rich in water resources, being endowed with a network of rivers and blessed with snow cover in the Himalayan range that can meet a variety of water requirements of the country. However, with the rapid increase in the population, and the need to meet the increasing demands of irrigation, human and industrial consumption, the available water resources in many parts of the country are getting depleted and the water quality has deteriorated. Indian rivers are polluted due to the discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents.
Poor water quality poses a serious threat to Indian economy where over one lakh people die of water-borne diseases annually and majority of people have no access to safe drinking water. With initiatives like “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission)” and “Smart Cities Mission” where the various Indian ministries have joined hands to address the major challenges like cleaning the Indian rivers, improved sanitary conditions for the rural and urban India, better Industrial and sewage waste management and efforts to tackle air pollution, to name a few.
The day is not far when India will be smart and swachh enough to offer you a choice between “tap water” or “bottled water” when you dine out in a fancy Indian restaurant or cook in a modular Indian kitchen or for that matter buying a bottle of water will not be a compulsion in trains /planes and the holy dip in Ganga will be as rejuvenating as it is meant to be.