Have you met a person in the city who loves a rainy day? Hmm….  We all love a “bright and sunny day”. Sitting in the sun, hang around, play with kids in open, and take a stroll in the garden, a sunny and bright day means fun. Of course, that is only when one has something to cool off with as well. A  water bottle in hand to quench one’s thirst, a swimming pool close to the neighborhood and enough water in the overhead tank at home to take a shower after a hard day at work or an evening walk. Water, readily available to most if not all city folks, comes in many forms to a growing metropolis drenched in capitalism.

Bottled water these days is available in every small and big store. It has probably become the most popular consumer items of the urban centers that have guaranteed market and unfettered access to homes, offices, restaurants, business houses, temples, and tea shops, because everyone needs it and the supply is declining. There are increasing numbers of investors ready to invest in putting bottling plants, in fact more than those investing in manufacturing or other industrial plants. Undoubtedly, water market has huge profit to attract investors.

It is a fact that exposure to radiation for long hours may lead to some form of cancer. To this I add, exposure to urban living for a long period of time may lead to ignorance.  I say this because we take the water we have in our hands for granted.

We don’t see that a huge amount of water is required to produce the variety of food we eat, the beverage we drink, and the garden we enjoy, even though  common sense would tell us that without adequate water we would not get fresh vegetables every morning we so relish, and the eggs without which we can’t think of a healthy breakfast. And yet, we stay happy as long as the weather is bright and sunny, a water bottle is available in the nearby store and the overhead tank is full. We tend to take the rest (if one ever goes so far as to think of ‘the rest’) as the responsibility of a farmer somewhere in a remote poor village to produce food.

A groundwater reserve is exactly like a ‘current account’ of a bank. For you to be able to withdraw, you have to first make a deposit. For nature’s water account – the groundwater reserve –   bad weather days do the depositing for us. But, unfortunately, we don’t like bad weather.  To add to that, we crave urbanization without understanding the ecosystem processes. This has created obstacles in nature’s process to refill groundwater reserve. We have sealed the surface by making concrete structures and taken the rainwater (part of which is supposed to go underground) away from our homes and roads through drains as quickly as possible.  This is one reason why water is becoming dearer by the year and probably will be very hard to find in adequate quantity in the decades ahead. We must ponder over our urban ignorance and become aware that for water to be available in the bottle that we buy in the supermarket or in farmers’ field that supply our food, we need many days of bad weather.

If you really want your grandchildren and great grandchildren to enjoy the abundance of water as you did when you were a child, you have to help nature.  You have to live with nature, connect with it. Your relationship with nature must be a symbiotic relationship rather than parasitic. The first step that you want to take is probably to make sure that, next time when it rains, do not  call it a bad weather, but a refilling day that deposits water in the groundwater reserves, emptied by bottling plants to bring water to the supermarket or farmers who have pumped up to irrigate vegetable farms.

With critical support from Irene

Until next

Madhukar

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