Water is one of the most important resources on the earth. It is very essential for all living organisms and without water, life cannot exist.The Jammu and kashmir has been gifted by Almighty Allah rich water resources like lakes, rivers, springs, glaciers, groundwater etc. Some of the famous glaciers are Siachen, Biafo, Baltora, Hispur and Nubra are located in J&K. Glaciers are the best source of fresh water in Kashmir. Various rivers like Jhelum, Chenab, Indus etc. are perennial rivers in flow. Important lakes are Dal lake, Nigeen lake, Wular lake, Anchar lake, etc and springs like Kokernag spring , Verinag spring , Achawal spring, Nishat spring etc are also perennial in flow. The water bodies are providing water for agriculture, Horticulture, industries, factories, construction, energy generation, and drinking purposes. Thus sectors like Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal husbandry, aquaculture, industries, and economic activities of almost all other sectors are very dependent on water and without water, their activities get paralyzed. The pristine and blue coloured water of kashmir water bodies like lakes, rivers, springs etc is a source of major attraction to thousands of visitors and for the past many years, it has fascinated and attracted thousands of visitors that provide employment opportunities to thousands of unemployment youth, livelihoods to common people and contributed well to the state economy. On visiting beautiful water bodies laced with crystal clear water, People find solace and at the same time relieve themselves of different kinds of anxieties.Around 60% of the rural population and 20% of urban poulation in kashmir valley lacks access to clean drinking water and lack of access to clean drinking water is a source of many waterborne diseases to people particularly in rural villages.The gravity of the water crisis due to dying water resources and its rising pollutions by people is such that water from polluted canals infested with many bacteria are now being supplied to majority of villages through pipes that becomes the cause of typhoid, Jaundice, cholera, intestinal diseases to people during the hot summer season. Due to increasing population growth, there has been increase in water consumption demand and water crisis on each passing day particularly in kashmir valley despite surplus fresh water resources. There are number of reasons responsible, First and foremost reason is that water resources of kashmir that provide drinking water to people are used as dumping sites by the majority of people and same people are later raising hue and cry for drinking water and making also others to suffer badly. Biodegradable and Non biodegradable wastes like Polythene, plastic bottles , human waste and other solid wastes etc are consciously thrown into water bodies by people making it polluted and unfit for drinking. Human excreta from latrines directly get into water bodies in urban areas in particular and in rural areas, the same trend is growing due to unawareness, lack of education and lack of supervision of the concerned department namely the P.H.E that has been now called as Jal Shakti Department.
Strict implementation of laws and schemes related to conservation of water besides, Civil society, NGO’S, religious scholars can also bring awareness and positive change among people regarding importance of water for life and conservation of water resources need of the hour. Let’s join hands together to save all water resources from dying and pollutions and pledge to conserve all water resources for balanced society and ecosystems.
Almost all water resources in Kashmir valley are becoming contaminated with biodegradable and non biodegradable wastes at a very high pace. Biodegradable
and non biodegradable wastes from humans, agriculture, industries and factories are responsible for serious water pollution that has resulted in severe drinking water scarcity for people almost in all areas of Kashmir. Increasing urbanization, agriculture expansion, rapid industrialization and economic development for the past one decade have put heavy pressure on water resources to a greater extent that also become reasons of water crisis in the valley. Unprecedented deforestation, urban concretization, pollutions, climate change and illegal encroachments by materlistic modern men have aggravated the water crisis situation further in the valley . If the growing pollution and encroachment rate by the materialistic modern men continues at the same pace, I think the time will come very soon when people will fight fierce battles among themselves for drinking water to sustain their lives.
How to reduce the water crisis in Kashmir valley, constructive measures are needed at various levels so that we can conserve our precious water bodies and ensure continuous clean water supply for drinking purpose and all other sectors that require water. First and foremost is the education and awareness among people regarding the importance of water for life. Secondly, educational institutions can bring awareness among students by conducting Seminars, debates, discussions on need, importance and conservation of water resources. Thirdly, adopting water conservation techniques like rain water harvesting and drip irrigation and avoiding flood irrigation can prove very effective in saving water and reducing water crisis demand, other measures include Introduction of water metering system across domestic, industrial and commercial sector to ensure judicious usage of water. Strict implementation of laws and schemes related to conservation of water besides, Civil society, NGO’S, religious scholars can also bring awareness and positive change among people regarding importance of water for life and conservation of water resources need of the hour. Let’s join hands together to save all water resources from dying and pollutions and pledge to conserve all water resources for balanced society and ecosystems.
(The author a teacher at Boys Higher Secondary School Beerwa Budgam writes exclusively and frequently for “Kashmir Horizon” . Views are his own)