Leaving nothing behind

 Joe Burton

The theme of World Water Day is ‘leaving no one behind’. It means ensuring sustainable development and progress for all. India’s 80% surface water is polluted. Most of sewerage water is drained into rivers causing water pollution, making it unsafe for human consumption. Encroachments have left these depreciated. In respect of area of  water bodies and lengths of water courses, Kashmir has no match in Himalayas. Water is most plentiful in low-lying areas, while Karewas upland suffer from aridity. It is an anomaly-scarcity of water in the midst of plenty. Due to absence of proper water management, water is not used judiciously. Lakes- Dal, Wullar, Mansbal are in bad condition and even high altitude lakes are not exception to pollution. Moreover Kashmir has been going through catastrophic climate changes. Erratic snowfall and scanty rainfall have put our agriculture in jeopardy. Keeping in view the situation, we should make a resolve to safeguard our water resources.



The theme of World Water Day:


“World Water Day also known as International Water Day is an annual UN observance day which is always held on 22nd March that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to promote the sustainable management of freshwater resources. It is celebrated around the world with a variety of events. These proceedings can be educational, theatrical, and musical. The first World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was commemorated in 1993. The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’. This is an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction. In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use. Every year, we conduct seminars, symposia, debates, and shows, awareness programs across the globe to preserve and conserve the water resources. There is acute water crisis across the world. Depletion of these resources through human activities is posing threat to life in general and to the human existence in particular.”


Kashmir water situation:


“According to an international organization, ‘ Water Aid’ India’s 80 percent surface water is polluted. Management of sewerage water is a big challenge for the central and state governments. Most of the sewerage water is drained into the rivers which led to water pollution and unsafe for human consumption. Encroachments and callous human intervention on water bodies have left them depreciated qualitatively and quantitatively. Our poor civic sense is enormously responsible for the pathetic conditions of our water resources. When we see our state particularly Kashmir valley in terms of water, it is an extraordinary paradox. Considering the total runoff, the area of water bodies and length of watercourses, the Valley has no match in the Himalayas. In fact, its water features are the principal components in its scenic beauty. The geomorphic character of the valley is, however, such that the distribution which renders vast stretches of land totally or partially out of use either due to the excess of water or its deficiency. Water is the most plentiful in the low lying parts of the valley, which remain literary deluged, while the adjoining Karewas uplands suffer from aridity imposed by its chronic deficiency. In both these respects, the situation seriously constrains the optimal use of the Valley’s land potential. The consequence is that the valley presents the anomalous case of scarcity in the midst of plenty. The rivers carry large volumes of water which they cannot possibly contain as their channels get increasingly choked with silt, making floods a recurrent phenomenon with disastrous consequences on agriculture. Naturally, in the absence of any systematic scheme for water management, the spillover from the ever-rising channels spreads all over the low lying tracts, which have been converted into extensive swamps, called the Nambal. The rest of the water flows out practically unharnessed, without being put to any substantial use before it escapes out of the Baramulla gorge. The Jhelum and its numerous tributaries, a large number of lakes, depression and springs are the main water bodies of the valley which has not been organized as it can be judiciously used through water management schemes. It is the biggest worry as far as sustainable water resource management is concerned”.


Status of Lakes:


“Once this state was considered best abode to the sweetest potable water. Many visitors were enjoying drinking water from famous Cheshma-Shahi and other springs. But, now, people hardly prefer to wash their hands in this water. Dal, Wular and Mansbal is in dilapidated conditions, and our high altitude lakes are no exception to ugly clutches of pollution. Increasing human intervention vis-à-vis adventure and pilgrimage tourism have exposed these high altitude freshwater lakes to human insensitivity. Even our glaciers are receding at an alarming rate. Dal has lost its sheen and volume considerably. Encroachments have shrunk it to a virtual pond. Houseboat and the hotel excreta has not only polluted its water but has drastically depleted the production of fish and lotus in it. Same is the fate of our other lakes like the Wullar and the Mansbal. Our major river which is also called the lifeline of the valley ‘ Jhelum’ and its other tributaries are cursing us. We and our government are equally responsible for its plight. People residing near its banks prefer to use it as a dustbin”.


Kashmir: phase of climate change


“For the last many years, the valley has been going through catastrophic climatic changes. Our horticulture is already in doldrums for the last couple of years particularly after the deluge of 2014. For the last many years, we have had erratic snowfall and scanty rainfall which has put our agriculture to jeopardy. Now, this year we have adequate snow, so let’s hope that there won’t be any shortage of water for domestic consumption and agricultural needs. Degradation of water  has not only put a question mark on our existence but has shaken our economy as well. The decrease in water results in lesser hydroelectricity production which hampers our prosperity to a larger extent. Fisherman community is extremely worried as the crisis has almost snatched its livelihood. Fish, Lotus stem (Nadru), water-chestnuts and other aquatic provisions are declining from our water bodies. Disaster is almost knocking our doors. Our insensitivity will make our future generations to pay heavily. So, let’s all take a pledge to save our water bodies. Water is vital and very essential for the survival of every living thing or we can say that life is subservient to water. All living beings need water to carry out different life processes. The Creator of this universe has filled our planet with plenty of water. Almost 71% of our earth consists of water. It is not a coincidence but Allah – the best planner and thinker knows how important water is for the smooth functioning of this world. But only 2 to 3% is potable. On this world water day, let’s all take a pledge to safeguard our water resources. Let’s promise to celebrate every day as water day. On this world water day, let’s all take an oath to safeguard our water resources. Let’s promise to celebrate every day as water day. We should also pledge as custodians of the natural resources of the valley to bring back the existence of our rivers, lakes, ponds and springs which they had two decades back. For centuries together, these water bodies have sufficed our domestic and agricultural needs and demands. Although, many parts of our country have witnessed acute water crisis during the recent past resulting in droughts and deadly famines our state has adequate and even surplus treasures of this colorless liquid”.


[Courtesy: daily Rising Kashmir, Srinagar, Kashmir, March 22, 2019].

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