Save the irreplaceable drop - GulfToday

Save the irreplaceable drop

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Picture used for illustrative purpose.

It’s morning. A young man, dressed in a pair of shorts and a vest, arrives at a roadside tap. He places his bucket below the flowing water, which is cold and potable. He begins to wash the clothes he was carrying in the metal bucket. He finishes that in about half an hour’s time. He then washes himself, fills up a set of jerrycans with the water and leaves without turning off the tap because it doesn’t have a cork.

That was a clip from the former capital of the British empire, Calcutta, renamed Kolkata some years ago.

He… leaves without turning off the tap because it doesn’t have a cork.

The British left India in 1947, but clips about the pleasure of fresh water haven’t changed. Thousands of people continue to have 24-hour access to free uncontaminated water throughout the metropolis, which gave India four Nobel laureates.

I used to feel that free water wasn’t a big deal till I visited the Indian cities of Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Jaipur, Patna. My experience in these cities, especially during the summer months, has been very unhappy. Potable water was clearly a problem in parts of these cities. That is not to suggest that the towns’ authorities are not doing enough to fight the crisis. It’s just that what appears to be a simple shortage problem is actually too big an issue and calls for solutions at national levels, if not international.  

Therefore, I read with delight a recent report that said experts had launched a new global commission to study the value of the world’s water, and work out ways of ensuring supply.

The work by the Global Commission on the Economics of Water is meant to offer advice on water management worldwide, as climate change and deforestation take an increasing toll on the water and rainfall supplies, co-chair Johan Rockstroem said ahead of unveiling the new group at the World Economic Forum.

“For centuries we’ve been able to consider freshwater a free resource,” said Rockstroem.

Water scarcity in India
Picture used for illustrative purpose.

“We need to put value on freshwater in order to manage it in a more resilient and responsible way,” Rockstroem said.

The above development is a major one and definitely a powerful step in the right direction.

That’s because electricity can replace petrol, gas can replace electricity, coal can replace gas, wood can replace stone, stone can replace iron, but nothing can replace water. We drink it to live. If we don’t we will die. Therefore, let’s drop political rivalries and work towards the security of the world’s most precious drop.

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