Since India attained independence, the per capita availability of water in the country has plummeted 70% to 1,582 cubic meters per year. This makes India a water-stressed nation. If the per capita availability were to plunge further to 1000 cubic meters per year, India would be a water-scarce nation.
Although India may not yet have officially earned the tag of water scarcity, its many villages, towns and cities reel under the onslaught of perpetual water shortages. There are 35 Indian cities with a population of more than one million people; none of these enjoy 24-hour water supply. Water is distributed at most, for only a few hours every day.
What happens when there is no running water in the taps?
Faculty and students of the Amritapuri campus experienced this water shortage in their mess halls during lunch time on World Water Day, March 22, 2012. They had to wash their plates and hands using water filled in buckets.
“We estimate that the use of water from buckets with mugs rather than directly from a running tap helps in conserving it by nearly 50%,” stated student coordinators of Amrita Sanjeevani, who spearheaded this conservation campaign on campus, to drive home some key points.
“It was a little uncomfortable when the water supply to the taps was shut off during our lunch hours,” conceded Kavya Purushothaman, faculty in the Department of English. “But it was a brilliant way to sensitize the entire campus community to the need to conserve water in every possible way.”
The taps were running again by dinner time.
“I am being careful now to only open the tap a little and not let too much water run; the experience this morning definitely has motivated me to be more alert about water usage,” shared Amritha V., staff in the Centre for Corporate and Industry Relations.
The Sanjeevani students also staged a play in Malayalam to draw attention to the grim water facts of contemporary times.
“Are you not the ones who snatched the rivers from us and polluted them? Aren’t you the ones who cut down all our green cover?”
“Now you are bottling water and selling it. You have levied a tax even on drinking water! Do you really own this water?”
Along with such hard-hitting dialogs, the play included scenes that depicted people using water in careless ways and wasting it.
The play presented not only the problem, but also the solution. “It is not difficult to conserve water. As children, we have all learned how to, in our schools. We just need to act upon the knowledge we already possess. We are hopeful that our message reached the student community,” shared Sreedeep C.D., third-year student of Integrated MSc (Maths and Physics) who acted in the play.
March 26, 2012