“The Mountain Stream-
Birthed out of the earth, bubbling out of a rocky outcropping, small & gently flowing out. As if reaching out to the world beyond. Flowing with a firm insight. Not dithering, not hesitating. Beginning its dharma of sustaining the living. As well as the non-living. As it has been doing for from time beyond
Flowing down. Through roots of flora. That sprouted by her touch. Generations ago. Capturing the essence of the curative roots. Sparkling. Reviving. Revitalizing. Anything & everything that partook of her.
Joining others. As all of them came together. All birthed out of the mountain. From several wombs. Merging. Gaining strength. A rivulet now.
Then together. Through more streams and lakes. Absorbing abundance. Giving. Gathering.
Now the river. Rushing forward in all its glory. Towards the distant horizon. The Ocean. The Karmic destination. Approaching Mortality.
Finally merging into the vast & deep. Its journey done.
Now, the spirit of the stream. Caressing the sun. Drop by drop. Collecting in the sky. The seeds of life. Merging into one another.
Bursting out of one womb. A billion seeds. All journeying the same path. As the seeds from the very beginning. Reaching deep into the empty wombs of the earth. Coming together. Replenishing. Getting pushed & moving forward. Always adding up to more. Moving through the same path. From the innards. Up to the mountain. Incessant.
Finally emerging out of the same portal. In that rocky outcropping, small & gently flowing out. Birthed out of the earth. An immortal being.
Water. That elixir of life. Herself, caught in the karmic web of birth, death and rebirth. But quenching the purpose of existence here.”
The three main natural sources of water are:
- Precipitation – Rainfall, Snow, Hail etc.
- Underground Water – Aquifers & Rock formations that trap water.
- Surface Water – Streams, Lakes, Rivers, Oceans etc.
As we stand at the cusp of a time where we can either retrieve the planet for mankind or lose it by allowing matters to go out of all possible control, every individual must reflect on our way of life & decide on the course of action that can truly present a sustainable planet to our future generations.
Starting this, we shall explore a series of issues that can bring focus on Water & explore ways to understand these. Also, see how all of us can become stakeholders in the management of water. After all, the journey of water consumption starts from our homes.
Did I see it changing?
I start from my home state – Karnataka. A land abundantly blessed with ample rains, lush flora & fauna, many rives, tens of thousands of lakes & streams, vast coastline. A limitless possibility of becoming & remaining a water positive state forever.
But the reality today is stark & alarming.
A report from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on the Water Quality Classification of Polluted River stretches during the year 2018-19 will jar all stakeholders from the state of ennui – farmers, entrepreneurs, Government, urban citizens, rural masses, et al.
Why? Because all of us need water to live. Future planning has no purpose without water.
Such is the seriousness of the problem that emergency measures may well be needed to tackle issues on war-footing. Nothing less will do.
River survey results:
Arkavathi, Lakshmantirtha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra, Bhadra, Cauvery, Kabini, Kagina , Kali, Krishna, Simsha, Kumaradhara, Netravathi, Yagachi – These are 14 rivers surveyed at 40 stations in Karnataka.
The results for March 2019, as per the Annual Report published by KSPCB is summarized below:
- There is not a single stretch classified as A – that means none qualify as a drinking water source without conventional treatment but after disinfection!!!
- Only two rivers, Kumaradhara and Netravathi, have stretches that qualified for Classification B – that means only these two qualify for bathing (not drinking). Rest of the 12 rivers DO NOT qualify for even bathing!!
- 6 rivers, Lakshmantirtha, Malaprabha, Cauvery, Kabini, Kali, and Yagachi have stretches that qualified under Classification C. Meaning, these can qualify for drinking water source with conventional treatment after disinfection!!!
- Stretches of Tungabhadra, Bhadra. Krishna, Simsha, & Tunga are classified as either C or D. One notices an increasingly consistent trend of D Classification amongst many of these river stretches – which means that this water is only suitable for Propagation of Wild Life and Fish culture!!!
An important aspect of this report is that KSPCB has tested the water for only 4 parameters – Dissolved Oxygen, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Fecal Coliforms and Total Coliforms.
One is cynical as to why only these four parameters were tested. Was it to present even a marginally better picture of the mess? Or to focus on a few parameters and work on a continual improvement plan?
Perhaps & hopefully, giving a benefit of the doubt, we will presume that the intent is the latter and strategies are framed to fix these. To ensure a foundation for good water health is laid, which would be amenable for further refinement.
What we citizens could do?
However, going forward, the alarming nature of this problem can be a motivation for society, in general, understand these aspects & engage actively to ensure a focus on the resolution. Engagement can be by way of:
- Asking questions on various platforms such as social media or public meetings held by Pollution Control Departments or to our MPs/MLAs etc.
- Understand if there are specific actions plans to mitigate the identified problems
- Keep an eye on how the plans are being executed.
- Continuous interaction with the elected representatives, bring issues to their notice, get matter clarified or insist on them monitoring the progress & report.
- Solutions & adopting methods to conserve, save & efficiently use water.
- Share success stories on various platforms & motivate others to adopt.
Such and many more active engagements by ordinary citizens in these matters can ensure that Water can be kept in focus always.
Now that the Central Government has a new Ministry of Jal Shakti, which is a consolidation of Ministries dealing with Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. It would be timely if there is a massive mobilization in citizen engagement in all matters related to Water so that the Vision is achieved in a collaborative manner.
After all, water lies at the core of sustainability. And for us in India, any river is revered as a Mother!
(Earlier published in MyIndMakers news portal)