Last updated on July 3, 2020
As we conclude another ‘World Water Day’, I cannot help but introspect on how we live our lives and the difference between intent and action. I feel the urgency to act even more so now, as I see with great alarm, the figures that highlight the global water catastrophe. According to a report by the World Health Organization, 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and by 2025; half of the world’s population will be living in water stressed areas. Closer to home, we all witnessed the distressing events following the water shortage in Chennai just last year. The crisis unfolding is due to a gamut of obvious factors that are affecting almost aspects of our lives -climate change, pollution, resource mismanagement and demographic pressure.
It’s unfortunate that despite being cognizant of its finite supply, most individuals and institutions, even today, use water indiscriminately without being mindful of the dire ramifications. In 2020, having access to clean water is a privilege and if we don’t aggressively conserve the freshwater we have left, the situation warrants an even more worrying picture for all of us soon.
Women bear the brunt of Water Scarcity
It is distressing to know that women in rural India must walk miles to fetch water for their families. They face the worst brunt of water scarcity and yet, have no say in the water management systems of their localities. As more groundwater sources deplete in the surrounding districts, distances to retrieve water become excruciatingly long and time-consuming. To add to the strain, a huge chunk of their day goes in the search for accessible toilets. The water crisis robs women of valuable time- time that could be used to pursue education and work opportunities. This long journey does indeed take a huge toll on women’s mental and physical health.
Without safe water and adequate sanitation at home, it becomes difficult for these women to live a productive and healthy life. Governments, organizations and non-government organisations must work towards putting in place reliable, water management systems and adequate sanitation amenities to take this extremely unfair load off their back.
Doing our bit at ReNew Power
At ReNew Power, we have worked at the grassroots level with thousands of women in rural India. We truly believe, giving women access to reliable water services is one of the most powerful empowerment tools there is. In our pursuit to advance our cause, we have set up water security programmes across the water-stressed states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana. Our initiatives include:
- Installation of 31 water RO/ filtration units across government schools and communities. The RO units range from 80 LPH to 1000 LPH, depending upon the size of the school and the community. These units currently provide clean drinking water to more than 10,000 people.
- Construction of 40 household Taankas in Jaisalmer
- Distribution of bio-sand filters to 100 households
- In collaboration with our rural communities, we successfully de-stilled 8 lakes across Jaisalmer and Jath. These lakes serve as a water source to almost 15,000 people!
- 8 ponds excavated across 8 villages in Bhuj
All our projects involve closely collaborating with local communities leveraging their invaluable, indigenous knowledge in water conversation every step of the way. My personal belief is that national sustainable development strategy must be a blend of traditional and modern practices of conservation.
ReNew Power is the largest generator of clean energy in India, so it is perhaps no surprise that sustainability and mindful consumption are tenets all ReNewers abide by. In fact, most of our employees come on board for this very reason. At office, each one of us is especially conscious of our water use. There are certain measures we’ve implemented to minimize use- installation of water-efficient plumbing fixtures, switching to waterless urinals, watering our plants on alternate days are just a few that we’ve incorporated. How incredible is it that these basic changes resulted in saving on an average 132 kilolitres of water every month!
The path before us
At this pivotal juncture in time, approach to water conservation warrants a whole new paradigm; a mass shift in behavior not just at the individual and government level but also ingrained into the business strategy of India Inc.! Pursuit of profit at the cost of our natural resources has cost us heavily and can no longer be the driving force of corporations and business houses. There is simply no room for complacency. Thankfully, there is still a host of sustainable and affordable solutions we can incorporate, whether it’s investing in water security projects by CSOs, collaborating with the government on schemes or launching our own initiatives. Water conservation requires collaborative effort and resolve of governments, industries and communities and we must all come together to address this impending crisis. The water crisis is real and akin to a ticking time bomb….lets make sure we defuse it without any further delay!