26 May 2011

Water Facts - Delusional Reality

Fact, they say, is stranger than fiction. So for my Delusional Thursday post, let me list out 5 things that I encountered last week, which I would say were the ramblings of a delusional mind, if I did not actually know they happened.

05. Spam in the middle of nowhere- it was a remote hamlet perched high on top of a hill. The road leading to the place could, at best, be called a trail, and on the 40 minute journey, I had barely 5 minutes of very spotty mobile connectivity. Guess what happened when I was standing at the edge of a rock, looking down on the traces of waterfalls of monsoons past? My mobile phone's beep made itself heard over the roar of the wind. There in the middle of nowhere, my phone had somehow managed to pull in a text message - "Flat 15% off on all books till May 31" it read. All I could do was smile.
The precise spot where I got the message
04. Man and beast sharing a water source - same hamlet. The only source of water is a small trickle from a gap in the sheer rock which fills a shallow basin carved by centuries of erosion. "Sometimes, when we come to fill water, we find a tiger here", the villagers told us casually. If they do, they wait for the tiger to drink its fill, before filling water themselve. And what if they are there before the tiger? Well, the tiger waits of course!
Carrying home the water that the Tigers left behind
03. Opposition to water mangement comes from the people themselves- when the technology is proven and easily available, why are there so few water management projects even in areas that face an acute shortage of water every year? Simple. The projects cannot be successful without the buy-in of the local population, and that's where the maximum opposition comes from. Landowners do not want water tables to be replenished, because improved access to water will mean greater prosperity in the area, and prosperity means non-availability of cheap labour. And what the landowners do not want doesn't get implemented!
Who knows where the opposition comes from?

02. Tomato is the most popular cash crop in areas where the water table is newly recharged- tomato is a water intensive crop. You would not expect to see fields of tomato in an area which till a few years back faced droughts every year. And yet, that is exactly what you do see. Why tomato and no other crop, you ask the villagers. "All those years when we didn't have water to drink, we dreamt of growing tomatos. Now that we get water in our wells, we are living out our dreams", was the answer. Who knew calling yourself a tomato farmer was as aspirational as owning a pair of Manolo Blahniks?
The new Manolo Blahnik

01. Wars over water will be more fiercely fought than wars over oil- myth! Though we think it is necessity, oil is actually a luxury that few can afford, and all can do without. Water is essential for survival. When the Wars over Water begin, the Oil Wars will become mere skirmishes. Let's hope the world wakes up before that happens, and starts conserving water.
How much longer can their thirst be met?
And on that note, Happy Delusioning!


ViolaNut said...

Cameron Strachan - The Water Wars. I haven't read it yet, but it sure looks like what you're talking about. Fiction becomes reality all the time...

Cold As Heaven said...

Your last point is very interesting. I've been working in oil exploration for almost 20 years. Some 15 years ago, when I worked for a petroleum research institute, we had a visiting researcher from India. He told me that that "in India water is more important that oil". What's interesting is that the same geophysical principles and technology can be applied for both oil and water exploration >:)

Cold As Heaven

Naina Gupta said...

That was a really interesting post.