Water scarcity in Kashmir

Suhail Bashir
Water is the most important substance in our lives next to air. Water scarcity is a rapidly growing concern around the world and there are many reasons behind its development and many of the reasons include unsustainable use of water, water pollution, and mainly the global climate change. The over exploitation of fresh water resources not only threatens the food security but also the overall wellbeing of human race. The growing population rate also adds fuel to the water scarcity challenge around the world. The global water consumption rate is increasing like wildfire while in developed countries it is two to three times more than in developing countries but they have adequate infrastructure to use it again and again with less health impacts and the challenge of sustainable consumption levels are getting difficult in future because of increasing overexploitation rates around the world. India half of the population lives in poverty and distress and it is believed that more or half of the population of India will die of water scarcity and unsafe drinking water problems. The world population is growing rapidly and it is estimated that it will get doubled in a decade and will overshoot the carrying capacity which in turn will increases the mortality rate. The half of the population in India does not have access to safe drinking water, while the scientific community is trying to streamline the consumption rate but India have had already contaminated majority of its ground as well as the surface water resources. The water rates are getting higher in India and the day is no longer when a common poor Indian will not be able to afford to buy a single water bottle in a day.
The improper and inadequate infrastructure in India is a serious challenge to counter water scarcity. Unfortunately almost all the water pipelines in India are damaged and the rivers, streams, aquifers, are about to die. In Kashmir we have plenty of water resources including Himalayan glaciers and these glaciers are also receding in geometric progression and the day is not far when we will also observe the same water shortage through all the places of our and indeed many of our people are facing the water scarcity issue. Along my countryside we have two rivers namely as Nallah Kehmil and Dangerwari (local Nomenclature) as fresh water bodies and almost more than a million people are associated to these rivers directly or indirectly and these water bodies cross through higher mountains and meadows and have lot of essential minerals dissolved in it and is more healthier than mineral water. The overall aesthetics was amazing but due to geometric increase in population, increase in water consumption demand, unsustainable use of water, the human waste (Fecal Contamination), solid waste, destabilization of river banks, encroachment and all the sorts of other wastes are thrown into the these rivers and the unethical audience is still paralyzed to react only to keep so called good neighborhood relations while to keep their future lives at stake.
The concerned authorities are hardly bothered about the private nuisance which directly is flushed into these water bodies and our natural legacy is at the verge of extinction and it is evident that these rivers will be dystrophic in future. These two rivers not only provide water for drinking as well as agriculture purpose but are as an ecosystem to billions of aquatic species and these aquatic species lives are not less precious than human lives and these two rivers recharge numbers of aquifers and aquitards and have lot of strategic importance. If we pollute these two rivers with toxic chemicals like organophosporous, organophosphates and other carbamates which are sprayed in orchids and other kitchen gardens which directly drain into these rivers by runoff and indirectly leads to ground water aquifers contamination which is very hard to remediate once contaminated. It need lots of resources and manpower to remediate or manage any polluted waterbody but need a little to conserve it before it dies. The protection and improvement of human environment is a major issue and to defend and improve the human environment for the present and future generations has become an imperative goal for humankind.
Water scarcity is the common problem and need community efforts to solve this menace while our community never considers water shortage as a problem as they never experienced it before as we have plenty of water resources available in our area, the modern people in our society are of firm opinion that water bodies are only there to wash our toilets, dirt etc but the thing is that the water is among the necessary commodities to live after air. Although some people are concerned about the water bodies and other fragile ecosystems but they are opposed at every step of conservation.
These water bodies need to be conserved for future generations as these are home to billions of aquatic species and if we can’t improve their life style at least we don’t have any right to kill them for our unnecessary greed. Humans are the actual devastators who are always in race to cut down forests, kill wildlife, to exploit other natural resources and from every side we find humans responsible for each and every blunder with nature. The society need to change the behaviour only and need to be morally upright only then we can save the natural resources for further use.
“Save every drop of water to secure the future”
(The author is M.Sc Environmental Science student)