Conserve water before it is too late

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Rains in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir signify arrival of monsoon. The meteorological department had more or less correctly predicted its arrival. This time, the whole state has been watching the skies for traces of rain-bearing clouds. This is because a large part of the state has been suffering from acute shortage of water with most water bodies, wells and tanks having dried up.
While drought conditions exist in several states with reports coming of people leaving their homes for less water-scarce areas, there is no such threat in Jammu and Kashmir immediately but nothing can be ruled out for future. All expectations are pinned on monsoon which accounts for about 75 percent of rainfall. By July-end, the monsoon is expected to reach every nook and corner of Jammu and Kashmir.
For the last few months, several parts of Jammu and Kashmir have been hogging the headlines for scarcity of water. Water is being supplied through tankers but it was like the proverbial drop in the ocean of need. Once the skies open, people and governments forget the scarcity they just underwent. The value of water is realised only when it is needed.
Otherwise, it is seen an expendable commodity. As the population grows exponentially, there has been depletion in the availability of water. What this brings us to is the need to conserve water. Unlike many other states of the country, most areas in Jammu and Kashmir are covered by rivers, big and large, streams, lakes and other water bodies. What is shocking is that many of these sources have, over the years, dried up mainly because of overuse, wastage, diversion and encroachment.
Tens of millions of gallons of rainwater is allowed to flow into rivers and finally into the sea. If a sizeable portion of this water is stored, the mad scramble for water in the summer can be ended. Now is the time to start implementing all the good ideas of rain-harvesting and conservation of water. State government would do well to launch an awareness campaign on a massive scale to save water while at the same time, expediting irrigation projects. It should focus on improving the supply of water across the state and stop wasting both time and money on engaging daily wagers purely for political reasons.

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