From a Water Maniac’s Diary

  Souparno |     August 1, 2021

My friends call me ‘Water Maniac’. They say I suffer from a ‘reverse’ hydrophobia— perennially worried about water. Basically, dreading the prospect when we won’t have any of it…

In fact, I think there is quite a possibility of that happening. And this frenetic hand-washing spree in these COVID times has made matters worse. No doubt that it’s important but do we even have enough water to keep washing hands across the world?

When I tell my buddies that our freshwater stock is under threat, they stare at me. You see, 97% of the Earth’s water is in the oceans—too salty for any use, except industrial. Merely 3% is fresh of which 2.5% is unavailable—locked up inside glaciers and icecaps. So, all that we have is just 0.5%!

And what are we doing with it? Our industries spew out filth and turn the rivers into nallahs. Our cities do the same. I mean look at what we’ve done to the Yamuna! We talk a lot about rainwater harvesting, but how many homes and schools actually do it? We don’t even have enough capacity to treat the wastewater we generate. I guess, we just mismanage everything!

I’ve tried to talk about this to my friends, but they don’t care. So, I talk to my Mom and you— Diary of mine. You don’t talk back, of course, unlike my Mom who listens patiently and tells me to focus on my studies. Can’t blame her, I guess, but isn’t what I am talking about equally critical?

It’s already 15th August. But what’s the point of being independent when we remain perpetual prisoners to pollution and overuse of a life-saving resource? Correct me if I am wrong, but a true patriot would pledge to protect these lifebloods of our nation and even of the whole Earth. So, let’s pledge together—my Diary, you, and me:

I, the ‘Water Maniac’, can and will do these three things in the coming year. (So, am not going to make any tall promises and fall flat on my face when it comes to fulfilling them.)

1. I’ll stop wasting water personally, and persuade my family to do the same, in the true spirit of charity beginning at home.

2. I’ll try harvesting rainwater at home, and get my elders enthused about the idea (not a very easy task, I tell you!).

3. I’ll live up to the name my friends have given me: learn more about this vital resource and spread awareness as much as I can. Next year, when I salute the Flag, I’ll take a moment to look back at the path I’ve travelled. Until then, happy Independence!

                                                                                                                                                                         —Water Maniac aka my Mumma's Neelu

About the Author

Senior Director, Outreach, Publications and Environment Education at the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi

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