Facing water crisis, Gujarat is taking measures to save water this Holi. Are other states listening?
GN Bureau | March 1, 2018
Come Holi and the non-ending debate on saving water vs it’s just-a-once-in-a-year festival rages on. A week before the festival, many housing societies and complexes has already started preparation for the Holi – with rain dance and Dj. A lot of them don’t mind bending their ‘save water’ campaign for this one day.
But with the effects of climate change looming over us and water scarcity becoming a routine every summer, can we afford to become complacent for this one day?
Gujarat is staring at a huge water crisis due to declining water levels in the Narmada. It is even predicted that the state would get only 4.71 Million Acre Feet (MAF) water from dams on the Narmada river this year, 45% of the sanctioned share of 9 MAF.
Acting on this crisis-like situation, the state government has reduced annual allocated quota of water to industries. It has also declared that it will not be able to provide Narmada water for irrigation after March 15.
Sensing the urgency to save water this Holi, around 800 temples under the Swaminarayan Sampraday in the state have decided to celebrate the festival with flowers instead of water. Many municipalities in the state like the Ahmedabad municipality corporation have also suggested to residents to conserve water and play a dry Holi.
The capital city of Delhi too is facing water problems. Water treatment plants at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Haidarpur have not been running at full capacity since January 30 due to high levels of ammonia in the Yamuna. As a result water supply in many parts of the city has been affected. But has the city learnt some lessons from Gujarat to conserve the already depleting water?
The answer might be no. Many residents have already started boasting about the rain dance parties at their housing societies and have dubbed the ‘save water’ campaign as mere tokenism.
What they don’t understand is that this tokenism can at least lead to a minimal wastage of water. It may be a matter of few years, or may be months, that we might face a situation like the South African city of Cape Town which is reeling under a huge water crisis. Strict water restrictions are in place in the city, and each resident is only allowed 50 liters per day. Moreover, July 9 has been predicted as the ‘Day Zero’ for Cape Town when the city might run out of all its water.
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This piece is based on a previous article by the authors published in Geoforum [Elsevier] in May 2019: available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0016718519300764?via%3Dihub
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