Future wars are going to be fought over water, and the battle lines are surely being drawn now as the global warming crisis makes it important for us to devise strategies to save this precious resource from drying up.
Some of the biggest wars have been fought over natural assets and, in the near future, if we don't manage our water resources in a sustainable manner, then surely we are looking at ravaging wars that will lead us to kill each other.
The United Nations' predictions on the fate of the world's water should open our eyes. By 2025, which is not very far, the UN predicts two-thirds of the global population will live in water-scarce areas.
According to Earth.Org, there are 17 countries listed in the category of suffering from extremely high baseline water stress, and one of them is India. It states that population growth and climate change are major factors of water scarcity.
However, in our tiny Goa, we still have an abundance of water, for which we have to be abundantly grateful, and at the same time watchful to ensure no one steals this precious resource or sacrifices it for the sake of political ambitions.
Despite the abundance of water in the state, there are some areas that go dry for days, thanks to the PWD that has not been able to keep up with its government's aspirations of 24x7 water supply.
One question that comes to mind is who is to be blamed for the lack of water supply in some of these areas of Goa, and that too in the parched summer days? Is it the government? Certainly, the government owes an explanation to tax-paying citizens.
Yes, for people who are facing intermittent water crises, blaming the government comes easy, but at the same time they have to formulate their own strategies to save water for emergencies, and the best way would be efficient rainwater harvesting.
This year water levels at the Opa and Selaulim dams have fallen below the levels that were recorded last year in the corresponding period and the reason has been attributed to intense heat.
The intense heat is responsible for the evaporation of water and seepage through the ground. To make matters worse, to date, there have been no healthy pre-monsoon showers that would augment the levels in the reservoirs to some extent.
Goans have never faced any drastic drought-like situation because the rain gods have always been merciful every monsoon bringing the much-needed showers on time to rejuvenate small water bodies, lakes and reservoirs.
While we continue to live in a land of abundant water, its mismanagement is not being tackled seriously. There is no scientific evaluation being done on the state's tentative water needs. Besides, the state has not been able to reduce wastage when tap water is supplied to homes.
The government has to carry out an audit of the daily water supply loss and ensure its old equipment is replaced. Also, it needs to see to it that old water pipelines that burst on and off are replaced.
Illegal water tankers operating across the state have not been reined in either. There have been reports these tankers are depleting the groundwater. It is high time the government deals firmly with this water mafia.
It is a well-known fact that civilisations have prospered because of their water. In Goa, the Zuari and Mandovi, the two main rivers, have been sustaining livelihoods for centuries. Currently, there is anxiety among people living on the banks of the River Mhadei (Mandovi) over Karnataka's all-out attempt to divert its waters.
If the Goa government and those within it consider Mhadei their mother, then it should not allow Karnataka to change the river's course by diverting the state's rightful water. Time is running out. It is now or never!