Water for Life

Water For Life

Water For Life Rain rain go away,

Come again another day,

Little Johnny wants to play.


This rhyme that we recited with complete innocence in our nurseries has now taken to effective reality in present age and time. The rains may come another day but its resultant water is slowly and certainly receding from our lives. You think of water and feel cool. You think of water and feel quenched. You think of water and feel Life – transparent and flowing. Ask a man in a desert and he will tell you what water means.

We have studied the uses and importance of water since grade three but with our progressive age have grown oblivion to the basics. And this has fatal consequences in store for us. Water and life are synonymously interchangeable. When we talk of water, life in all forms emerges as a vivid picture. The world as it stands today saw its genesis in water. The first life on earth appeared not on land but in the ocean. The atmosphere was still thin with insufficient oxygen and ultra-violet radiation was lethal to life form. But neither problems affected life underwater. Though the origin of life is unknown, scientists think that shallow, warm water pools at the edge of oceans would have been ideal environment for the evolution of the first unicellular life form like bacteria. The evolution from the unicellular to the exquisitely complex being is phenomenal but the further growth in terms of material advancement is giving rise to a grim water reality. Thinking of water conjures up a very rejuvenating image of cool water splashing across the face or a cascade of clear water reflecting the azure sky. But this appealing image is marred by the contrast and stark reality of water glaring us in the face. The world is not enough and so is the water. It is a natural renewable resource constituting our life support with 70% of our body weight being water.

But our demands on this resource have increased overwhelmingly high causing extreme limitations on its quantity and quality. Water is such a basic necessity of life that its unavailability can be severely problematic. The global statistics of current water availability are bleak. UN General Secretary Kofi Annan said, “Lack of access to water for drinking, hygiene and food security inflicts enormous hardships on more than a billion members of the human family.” The primary reason for the inadequacy of water is our growing population and the improper use of water by this large population including the missing climatic links on account of ecological imbalance. Studies conclude that our water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population during the 20th century. Regions like Middle East, North Africa and South Asia are acutely water short. Already 4 out of 10 people worldwide live in areas experiencing water scarcity. By 2025 as much as 2/3rd of world’s population estimated at 6.5 billion people may be living in countries that face a serious shortage of water.

The above figures are real and horrifying and the future consequences disastrous. Imagine water being rationed like one bucket per person, dry taps at home and no swimming pools. While we are growing hybrid fruits and vegetables and increasing the yield, the very water for their germination might be unavailable. In a number of countries, a bottle of mineral water costs more than fruit juices or other carbonated drinks. Though these juices and drinks may be cheaper than water, they cannot replace the satisfaction that water provides to a thirsty man. However, a contemporary problem that has preoccupied us for long is the exhausting oil wells and escalating crude oil prices. The rapid industrialization and advancing technology has put immense pressure on oil and petroleum needs for which we are paying a hefty price in terms of pollution and money both. But the day is not very distant when water may be dearer than crude oil. The worst fact is that we are exploring and successfully finding alternate fuels, but there is absolutely no substitute for water. It is a life threatening situation.

Endangered world peace is another depressing outcome of water scarcity with water wars or conflicts being inevitable. We have waged wars for land, oil, wealth and today water is the bone of contention. The world is witnessing it in the disputed ownership of Sedudu/Kasikili Island in the Chobe River between and . This is an actual water related conflict. There have been similar disputes in between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the water of river Cauvery and between states of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh over river Yamuna. Such national and international conflicts add to the already sensitive and strained geopolitical relations.

But the reality is more frightening and sadder because the problem does not end with the quantity of water alone. The quality of water is another mammoth issue looming large. With 1.2 billion people having no access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion lacking proper sanitation, it seems disillusioning to boast of our space flights and discovery of water on Saturn’s moon. Worldwide some 50,000 people die daily of waterborne diseases and 80% of all diseases are attributable to drinking water quality. The people in rural parts of developing countries and underdeveloped countries are still the hapless victims of water borne epidemics, wiping out entire colonies. Conservation of water and the environment is the known solution. But implementation requires an awakened civic sense and acceptance of social responsibility more than anything else. The advancing technology has given us a number of ways to utilize water effectively like water recycling plant, sewage recycle, industrial effluent recycle, central treatment system for residential complexes, drip irrigation for agriculture, water vending machines, etc. But the success is predominantly dependent on the people using it i.e. you and I together. The beauty of water is its transparency. It reflects the colour it is poured in. While it sustains life it also gives the most subtle message of living life. The colors of life change and if we can mould ourselves to the changing colours of time, life will be an everlasting music. There is another virtue to water. It reflects the sunny blue sky and also takes the color of the eerie well, but retains its identity and utility without loss.

Another rhyme that comes to my mind is,

Jack and Jill went up the hill,

To fetch a pail of water,

Jack fell down and broke his crown,

And Jill came tumbling after.

The earth’s water has spared us infinite pails of itself, but if we fell below our basic responsibility and duty now, life and the world shall surely and certainly come tumbling over and after forever.


There are some efforts like a humanitarian project “WATER FOR LIFE “ in Africa. Much greater effort is required globally to resolve water issues and protecting the environment.



Author: admin