“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink”

When Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the 17th century wrote this line in his poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, he was only describing the plight of the mariner in the midst of the sea. However this line seems to have found relevance and a new meaning in today’s date. Water scarcity as well as safe drinking water is a grave situation that the world is facing and needless to say demands attention from all.

Although 70% of the earth is covered with water, according to the UN report 2013-14, 85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet. 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. The same report also suggest an alarming fact that by 2025, 1800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions. And almost 1400 children die every day from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and sanitation.

This scarcity of water is cited due to rapid increase in population, urbanization and increase in its usage for industrial and agricultural purposes while; too much of water is also wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed.

In India, regardless of improvements in drinking water, a major problem the country is facing in groundwater depletion and contamination. In fact the World Bank estimates 21% of the country’s diseases are caused due to unsafe drinking water.

To cater to this problem the government, industries as well as the community has to come together and work towards water conservation and safe water drinking for all.

This World Water Day, 22nd March, let us all join hands and pledge to save every drop of water for us and our future generation. And following this year’s theme of “Water & Sustainable Development” let us realize that water is life and no growth can happen without it.Every individual should develop a mindset for water conservation by practicing habits that could be as simple as turning off the water taps when not in use or avoiding usage of plastics etc.The government agencies should focus on introducing innovative techniques like rain water harvesting and create water reservoirs for optimum utilization of the available resources.Industries should minimize its use of toxic and hazardous raw materials. As a critical step, regular monitor of ground water quality and remediation should be taken as a compulsory step.

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