The Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci had correctly proclaimed centuries ago, Water is the driving force of all nature . His aphorism holds even more meaning today in the socio-economic-ecological milieu of a country like India, where the ecological balance is being continuously altered because of a number of factors such as population explosion, rapid urbanisation and increasing industrialisation. This is particularly true for the state of Haryana, wherein struggle for water, the basic necessity of life, is witnessed especially in the rural regions. The question is: How can further interventions in sustainable water management resources be initiated such as to avoid the drying up of wells and ponds? How can water be made to reach the farms, factories and houses in Haryana more consistently?
A look at Haryana's present economic and geo-ecological status makes the vitality of water resources in the state evidently clear. Haryana is a land-locked state, thus not being gifted with water body which acts as a great source of water for other coastal states like West Bengal, Kerala or Maharashtra. Haryana's contrasting presence of rich agricultural fields in the rural villages, along with heavy industrial hubs in the urban counterparts, has demanded that water be supplied equitably to all parts of the state. Accessibility of water supply is crucial not in the farms and industries, but also in houses for domestic purposes. An added feature in this scenario in Haryana is the high salinity of the water from groundwater zone and water tables. This often does not supply clear and hygienic drinking water in the homes, making the question of sanitation a concern in the state. Since clean water does not reach homes sufficiently, poor people in the villages and cities in Haryana find it a burden to buy water from water tankers, which are very expensive.
The Haryana government (IRRAD) has taken some steps to ensure that rainwater harvesting is done at the level of individual households, roof-water harvesting models are created to ensure the storage of water, and pond water filtration processes are implemented for domestic usage. But the question remains, are these steps to access water carried out uniformly in all parts of the state?
For uniform accessibility of water in both rural and urban regions, for domestic, industrial or agricultural purposes, more models of sustainable water management must be quickly implemented in the state. The government must also sanction more grants to the poor people to build underground water storage tanks in their houses, the expenses of which are sky-rocketing. Regular inspections of ground water levels must be done, so that residents of Haryana are made aware of the declining levels in the summer season.
In those parts of the state where water levels are in absolute scarcity, different arms of the administration must ensure that municipal or panchayat water tanks are sent to these places regularly, for people to access water for different purposes. Cluster water tanks with massive storage capacity must be built in each village, such that women and girls do not have to queue for hours to collect water from ponds.
For steady water management schemes, improved sanitation facilities must be initiated first of all. This can be achieved primarily through awareness programmes, wherein people are educated of the effects of using impure and unhygienic water. They must also, more importantly, be made aware of the need to conserve water and use it intelligently, such that water wastage is minimised. Industries must not dispose industrial waste into the rivers and ponds, which not only pollute the water body, but make it ineffective for use for other purposes. This makes water scarcity in the different regions of Haryana a burning issue.
Haryana must continue to implement further policies and schemes in order to sustain the vitality of water management in the different regions of the state, equitably and consistently. More work must be done not only by the government, but the different non-governmental organisations in monitoring various programmes to relieve the people of the pain of water scarcity. Naya Haryana must pave the way for other states, in its imperative to save water, save lives in the state.