Feature

India: A wet land where water is scarce

In a land of monsoons, why must the average rural woman walk more than 850 miles a year to find water?

Aamir Khan
The Hindu 

This is a land of monsoons, said Aamir Khan, so “where does all our water go?” India gets enough rainfall to meet our needs, yet the average rural woman walks more than 850 miles a year to fetch her family’s water. It wasn’t always this way. In centuries past, Indian villages controlled their water sources cooperatively, and everyone had access. “With the coming of the British,” though, collective ownership was replaced by centralized administration of lakes and water tanks, as people were taxed or otherwise forced to pay for water. The result of this centralization was that thousands of lakes and canals silted up. Delhi, for instance, once had 800 lakes, while fewer than 10 survive today. Now, instead of collecting in those lakes, the rains flood the cities and run off uselessly. The solution, championed by activist Anna Hazare and others, is to capture the runoff in tanks or man-made ponds and treat it on site. The idea is not “rocket science, nor is it new.” It requires a return to the “traditional wisdom” of Indian rainwater harvesting. Water is central to so many of our religious rites, particularly Hindu rituals. Surely we can provide running water for all.

Recommended

Russia claims to have captured Mariupol
Russian soldier in Mariupol.
big if true

Russia claims to have captured Mariupol

Group of 7 pledges almost $20B in aid for Ukraine
G7 officials discuss Ukraine aid package.
cash infusion

Group of 7 pledges almost $20B in aid for Ukraine

Biden's trip to Asia, explained
President Biden.
Briefing

Biden's trip to Asia, explained

Monkeypox comes to America
A monkeypox warning.
Briefing

Monkeypox comes to America

Most Popular

College student who delivered baby before graduation surprised at hospital
Jada Sayles receives her diploma.
major milestones

College student who delivered baby before graduation surprised at hospital

Elon Musk reportedly offered to trade a horse for an erotic massage
Elon Musk
A horse?

Elon Musk reportedly offered to trade a horse for an erotic massage

Archbishop denies Pelosi communion over abortion rights
Nancy Pelosi.
church and state

Archbishop denies Pelosi communion over abortion rights