What is the future of water in India?
Source: Dispatch-55, Date: , 2020
Rajendra Singh, better known as Waterman of India (Jalpurush) and a winner of the
Raman Magsaysay Award and the Stockholm Water Prize, has transformed drought-prone
Rajasthan by rejuvenating the rivers of the state. Believing in a
community-driven water management system, he has helped villagers to take the
charge of water management in in their areas through various techniques. From
quitting a government job to being a water activist, he has travelled a long
way. We got hold of him in 'Ma Ganga Sammelan'.
Q: How did you shift from treating
people's health to addressing the water problem of the nation?
While coming from Ayurveda, I was initially treating people with their illness,
providing medical care.But the people told me that their real problem lies in
water scarcity. They were clueless in finding solutions for this. They
requested me to help them to solve the water scarcity issue. It was difficult
for me as I wasn't an expert in that domain. I realized this was more important
and I started reading and doing work for water conservation.
Q: What is the future of water in
At present, the future of water in India is really in an emergency state (the
water emergency). The government is looking at the water issue as urgency not
as emergency. The government will have to understand the reality of water
scarcity and consider it emergency. When I ask the government when will it take
the issue water scarcity as emergency, they remain silent. If the country is
really interested in facing the water related challenges, they can start the
community driven decentralized water management system. It is the only solution
which can make the water available for this country. Otherwise, we can't do
anything. We don?t need commercialization or marketization but our government is
interested in the same. They are creating challenges for future.
Q: How do you see the challenges
India is facing on water scarcity and how can we resolve it?
challenges ahead are- the wells are getting dried, canals are without water. At
one end, we are wasting water (not spending judiciously) recklessly and at the
other end, we are facing water crisis. Both are interconnected. We can?t solve
water scarcity problem until we use water judiciously. The struggle lies
between the two. If the government doesn't take note of it, the future of water
is gripped in darkness. Around 365 districts are suffering from water scarcity
problem. The level of water of wells are going down. The farmers are facing
dearth of water for irrigation. Community driven decentralized water management
is the only solution to cope up with this challenge.
Q: What is the biggest achievement Tarun
Bharat Sangh has achieved?
Tarun Bharat Sangh has been working for over 1200 villages. We are working
towards making a change via addressing various issues related to water. We have
recharged around 2500 wells which has positively impacted the lives of lakhs of
residents. Around 17 lakhs people have returned to their lands for cultivation
after their villages were destroyed. Rajasthan is a place which witnesses the
minimum rainfall, has now addressed its water scarcity problem. If Rajasthan
can do it, why not other states.