There cannot be greater irony than the fact that even as we swim in the humongous abundance of water we should feel the want of it. Bhutan has one of the highest per capita availability of water in the world, yet households in parts of our country increasingly face absolute shortage of water. Lack of water for irrigation has led many rural folks to leave their land uncultivated and abandon their ancestral home in utter desperation.
This must sound bizarre, because it is.
But it isn’t really hard to sink in why there is at all scarcity of water. Perhaps we take water for granted being in a water-rich country cradled in the heart of the mighty Himalayas. We have spring and brooks and streams and rivulets myriad. Fresh and clean snow-fed rivers roil and rumble down from the mountains. There really should be water everywhere and awful lot to drink. Could it be that we are not managing our water resources prudently?
No, we aren’t. Right there is the answer!
If we managed our water resources well and advisedly, the fact that we do not even have an integrated water resources management plan should say something about our efforts to make water accessible to all. And, without it, how do we know where to begin? Who should take the responsibility? What mechanisms have we put in place to ensure that there is no spillage or wastage? Achieving water security is important. The need will only grow.
A sensible planning needed? Of course.
As the nation seeks to achieve 75 percent rice self-sufficiency, we do not even have an irrigation master plan. Surely we cannot depend on rains from fickle monsoon. Bringing large acres of land under cultivation will require robust irrigation system. This is against the backdrop of increasingly fading arable land in the country. As we let urban sprawl gobble up our precious little cultivable land, sensible planning is really more than just necessary.
There is, indeed, water enough for us all.
Every small minute we buy will cost us dearly. Developing a pragmatic water resources management plan should be the right start. And, we no longer can wait or falter. All else will then follow and there will be enough water for all. A little civic sense would also contribute vastly towards achieving water security. If our tanks are full and flowing, turn the taps. If water gushes out from a broken pipe by the roadside, make an effort to mend it.
However slight, such small acts matter, a lot.