“Rahul why did you leave the bathroom tap open again?”

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We all must have heard this line time and again at some point of our lives and we all have frowned at why our mothers get so concerned if some water gets wasted. Well, we couldn’t be more wrong and we should realize how precious water is and when it becomes scarce, our very survival will be at stake. Water is life and there is no life without water.

What seemed to be a distant future threat has unfortunately become a dreadful reality as we recently found out that the capital of South Africa, Cape Town may become the first major city to face an extreme water crisis as officials have warned that there are only 90 days before their water supply gets finished.

The severity of this situation has mainly been caused by low rainfall and drought for 3 years combined with an increase in population and water consumption. It’s unfortunate that humans have abused nature’s resources to such an extent that we have become the ultimate victim of our own thoughtless actions, not only endangering our lives in the process but also the lives of other animals and birds and trees.

From what is happening at Cape Town, we should remind ourselves that protecting our world is our responsibility and conserving water is a major step towards it. This is why the “River Rally” campaign has been started. It is an awareness campaign directed towards the conservation of Indian rivers and other water bodies. India has always been an agricultural country with an over-dependence on its rivers. Civilizations have originated from the banks of these rivers and consequently destroyed when the rivers shifted from their original course. However the sanctity of this relationship has been spoiled due to growing population and development activities. By 2030, India will only be able to retain 50% of the total amount of water required for survival. 25% of India is already turning into a desert.

In such critical times, River Rally is indeed a welcoming and much needed campaign if we want to avoid what is currently happening at Cape Town. Our perennial rivers are becoming seasonal, with River Ganga and River Indus being listed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as the world’s most endangered rivers. River Rally primarily involves creating and maintaining tree cover for a minimum of one kilometer on either side of an entire river length and approximately 500 meters for tributaries.

Native forest trees would be planted in government-owned land along-side riverbanks whereas organic fruit tree cultivation would be implemented on private farmers’ lands. This is a very suitable solution to a major environmental problem. Not only does it ensure the replenishment of our rivers but also as a means to improve farmer’s livelihood as they are provided with an additional source of income and employment. The availability of fruit also increases the nutritional intake of the population.

Experienced in matters regarding environmental sustainability, Isha Foundation has indeed done a commendable job by bringing a large section of the general population to support this movement and made the public aware of the importance of optimum utilization of water. It has paved the way for more such measures safeguarding Mother Nature in different ways.

Image Source: Cape Town Water Shortage // VLOG 069

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