Water. We sure do take it for granted, don’t we? Look around you. Chances are you’d find someone wasting this most precious thing somewhere in your vicinity. Maybe it is the Metro water tanker that is sloshing its contents all over itself and around it. Maybe it is the leaky tap at the corner of your garden. Or the neighbour’s overhead tank that is imitating a mini waterfall because they forgot to turn their motor off.

We know it is vital. We know it is finite. What else do we know about it? How long is it going to be there for us to dip into? When is it going to run out? What in the name of all that is holy will we do when it does run out?

Water and its usage

First off, let’s take an in-depth look at water and its domestic uses. Talk about an eye-opener! Next time junior keeps the tap on whilst brushing his teeth, be sure to show him this link!

The situation – dire. 

No need to sugar coat this, the prognosis appears quite grim. World over, the groundwater resources are depleting fast but nowhere is the situation as bad as it is in India. Studies conducted by the University of California at Irvine, say that “… the Indus Basin aquifer of India and Pakistan, which is a source of fresh water for millions of people, is the second-most overstressed with no natural replenishment to offset usage”. That’s us, folks. Taking a lot but not putting much back in.

Water woes a’plenty

Lakes frothing up, taller than buildings. Farmers killing themselves because of water scarcity – no water, no crops. Huge swathes of the city closed off because there’s a lack of water. Water logging. Our mismanagement of water has resulted in a number of issues, each one more dire than the other. In Tamil, there’s a proverb: “the water has risen over our heads; what does it matter if it is a little or a lot?” Well, it does because, our woes right now may be plenty but things can become worse. And we do not want that!

What’s the worst that could happen?

Riots. Famine. War. Widespread disease. Death.

Pretty much the end of the world type situation. 20 years back, the then Vice President of World Bank Ismail Serageldin said, “the wars of the next century will be fought over water.” I should imagine that we are closer to the edge now, two decades on, than we were in 1995, when Mr Serageldin uttered those words.

So what is to be done? There’s only so much and we are going through them like there’s no tomorrow.


A few years back, Singapore set up a water recycling plant – not just any water, mind you, but its sewage. That very same black and putrid smelling water we vault over chasms to avoid getting on our shoes! But with the help of the latest in technology, the country managed to clean it up and make it safe enough for human consumption. Inspired! So what has that got to do with us, you ask? Well, did you catch the Delhi CM sipping delicately from a glass of water, recently? Guess where he got that from? If you can get over your initial “ICK!” factor, I think you’ll agree that this is an amazing solution. We generate enough and more wasted water – imagine if we can clean the hell out of that!

So, what do you think? What ideas do you follow to save water in your area?