12. Save Water!

The roads in Netherlands and Germany are built to absorb water into the earth. Enough gaps are provided for water to percolate into the earth. If you care about water make sure that this happens with anything you build. Do not create a concrete fortress, where water cannot enter the earth again. You are creating an obstacle to the divine cycle.
Can we take initial steps on a macro and micro level to protect our water resources? I believe water committees should be formed on every street and every city. A few States in India and some countries have made rain water harvesting statutory. It should become universal. But the most terrible misuse of water happens in our own homes. Pristine pure water, ready to drink, is expensive because of the various processes needed to purify it. The scandal is that this expensive water is used to flush toilets, water plants, clean floors, windows and paved areas and wash cars.
Potable water that is safe for drinking and cooking is not always available as ground water. In some States like West Bengal, water is infiltrated by arsenic which can lead to lifelong disabilities. In Andhra Pradesh water is polluted with fluoride, which in large quantities destroys teeth and bones. Some industrial areas like leather manufacturing belts, have destroyed the ground water with the chemicals used in the process. The t-shirt capital of the world, Tirpur has a situation where the ground water has been made unusable by infiltration of dyestuffs. The great rivers like the Ganges are being systematically destroyed by the industrial effluents being let out into the water. This often happens clandestinely. In the Minamata tragedy in Japan, the children were born with flippers instead of limbs as a result of mercury pollution.
It should become statutory for all new buildings to use recycled water for everything that does not need potable water. Water recycling systems should become an essential part of all new buildings. It should become a punishable offence to pollute rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. After all polluted water, can kill as effectively as a bullet in the head.
Swami Vivekananda wrote: “The rain drop from the sky if it is caught in hands is pure enough for drinking. If it falls in gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used for washing the feet. If it falls on a hot surface, it perishes. If it falls on lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl and finally, if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl… The drop is same, but its existence and worth depends on with whom it associates.” So let us protect the gift from heaven, pure, clean water.

Dr. Rekha Shetty

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