Unless the government is serious about the problem, nothing will happen
Neha Sethi | February 8, 2010
Waterman of India, Rajendra Singh talks about water scarcity and BMC's move to appoint Sachin as brand ambassador for water conservation
Is there a need to be concerned about the water situation in India?
The water situation in India is very scary. There is scarcity or drought on one side and there are floods on the other. Till now, we have been exploring technology for exploitation of underground reserves. We have been pumping out huge amounts of water. Soon the underground reserves will be empty. We need to explore techniques which will help conserving water resources instead of depleting them.
What is the extent of water shortage in Indian cities?
Indian cities are facing acute water shortage. Water to cities is being supplied through pipelines which bring water from as far as 300 kilometers away. The Indian cities are living on the water being provided to them by villages. The day the villagers stand up and say that they won't give their water to the cities, that is when the real war will begin. The citizens of this country are not treated equally. While those living in the cities get a lot of water, those in villages have to make do with less water. Still the water problem is more severe in cities.
What needs to be done to solve the problem?
There is a need for community-driven decentralised water management system. Disciplined use of water also needs to be propagated. The government has the historical responsibility to provide water to all but it has failed. Equitable distribution of water is also an issue that needs to be dealt with. You cannot treat the villagers as second class citizens.
Do you think Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's move to appoint Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador for water conservation will help solve the problem?
A fashionable move like this will not solve any problem. All Sachin can do is generate awareness and help building an environment for water conservation. But unless the government is serious, nothing can be achieved. And the government is not putting serious efforts into water conservation. There is a need to have a policy or law on water conservation.
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