More than 163 million people in India do not have access to clean water, according to a report by WaterAid.
This is also the highest for any country in the world.
According to estimates, every Holi, roughly 30 litres of water is wasted by one person; which means 150 litres is wasted for every 5 lakh people playing Holi. This number should be enough to keep us from wasting millions of litres of water as we celebrate Holi this year.
And if it is not, let’s have a further look at the dire water crisis our country is facing right now.
Vast swathes of our country are reeling under drought and a serious scarcity of water.
After Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh, Telangana became the tenth state to declare a drought late last year.
In 2016, Delhi Water Minister, Kapil Misra reassured the citizens of Delhi that they need not hold back their Holi celebrations because of the fear of running out of water. According to him there was no water crisis in the city.
And just last year, Niti Aayog stated that Delhi will run out of groundwater by 2020.
Not just Delhi, according to the same report by Niti Aayog, 21 other Indian cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020. In fact, Bengaluru is nearing ‘Day Zero’ with the possibility of the taps in the city running dry very soon.
Last year, we also saw the authorities in Shimla asking the tourists to stay away from the city in the wake of a severe water crisis.
NASA’s findings suggest that India’s water table is declining alarmingly at a rate of about 0.3 metres per year.
Adding to the problem is the pollution of water bodies which makes the available water unusable for us. Unchecked pollution has turned thousands of water sources into bodies of filth and disease.
India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and as stated by Niti Aayog,
“There is an imminent need to deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable.”
The report by Niti Aayog also says that some 600 million people in India are facing acute water shortage and around 2,00,000 Indians die every year because they have no access to clean water.
The above-mentioned data shows that in a country of 1.3 billion people, half of the population lives in water crisis.
This video, from a year ago, gives us a more detailed picture of how alarming the situation is for us.
The main problem with us is that we see water as a free, or low-cost resource. We fail to realise that water is finite and it needs to be managed carefully.
We also have the case of Maharashtra where more than half of the state has been declared drought-hit for the past some years. And the situation only worsens every year.
With increasing urbanisation, the pressure on water resources is expected to increase manifold and according to some estimates, demand of water in the near future will be twice that of supply.
By 2030, India’s usable supply of water could fall short by 50%, according to a study by the National Water Resources Framework (NWRF).
And the situation doesn’t seem to get any better considering India’s burgeoning population.
According to some estimates, nearly 20 million litres of water is wasted in a small city on Holi. In a big city, this number would be manifold.
If it’s possible to celebrate Holi using dry colours, why not do that. We can all do this, can’t we?
As we get ready to celebrate the festival of colours, let’s keep our country’s water crisis in mind and pledge not to waste water.