Water, according to leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm Goldman Sachs, is the ‘petroleum of the next century’ and is one of the most immediate prerequisites for the survival of the humanity, has been the cradle for civilizations since time immemorial.
Disputes around the issue of water are too numerous to be encapsulated here. Be it Indus or Cauvery. Issue remains the same. No exceptions!
But latest spike in the number of water dispute in the South Asian sub continent is a reflection of larger global trend that is casting its shadow on the hitherto water sufficient region of the globe.
With India threatening Pakistan for using the share of Indus water that ‘rightfully belongs to India’; the domestic water war has plagued India itself for too long.
In India, the federal fabric happens to be under severe strains owing to surge in the number of inter-state water disputes. Many of the disputes that surfaced recently have a long duree, nonetheless, the intense passion and jingoism that was put on show is alarming.
The larger issue, however, is still to be framed in the debate, the issue of water intensive lifestyle.
Modern day technology has been a transformative experience in Anthropocene. The tremendous impact has affected us in many ways. Right from our daily chores to agriculture, we have been adding many ways to enrich our water intensive lifestyle.
Sugarcane, for an example, was grown in areas that had high water supply. Blessed with irrigation facilities, areas that were hitherto water deficient have started growing the water intensive crop, thereby increasing the water appetite for the region.
From car washes to frequent flushes in restrooms, we have been wasting waters in numerously creative ways which our forefathers didn’t. It is not to say that these habits are to be forbidden but to mark that our water appetite has grown humongously. The find equilibrium is nowhere close to horizon.
Politics of freebies:
From waving of water rent to supply of free electricity for the pump sets, political elite has always been hand-in-gloves with our water intensive lifestyle and has further incentivised it.
Politics of Water:
Often to gain extra marks from the potential voters, political parties especially those with regional orientation fuel the issue and provoke passion.
Adhocism has backfired:
Use of force by the State to curb the violence or judicial intervention can only provide ad hoc arrangement. The intermittent water disputes, plaguing the sub-continent, need to be addressed in a comprehensive way. That too, at the earliest!
Rather than going on for ad hoc arrangement we need to revitalise our lifestyle to be more water efficient.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed,”