Millennium Post

Integrating initiatives

Just when the nation is reeling under the pressure of depleting fresh water for common day-to-day usage, the pressing need of the hour is to implement at war footing effective methods of water conservation. Chennai has infamously been at the centrestage of its alarming water crisis. The fast-growing metro city has lost huge areas to development projects and illegal encroachments over decades, these vast stretches of land were earlier covered with water bodies. And Chennai is not the only city in the soup; Delhi and Bangaluru are just some of the major cities that are fast catching up. As per an assessment by NITI Aayog, 21 major cities in India will run out of water by 2020. The first state to face the music, Chennai was a city that was water surplus until few decades ago as it followed the age-old conservation system, it was thriving with nearly two dozen water bodies that included the British-made Buckingham canal which connects the three main rivers of Chennai: Cooum, Adyar, and Kosasthalaiyar which flow into the Bay of Bengal. It is no secret that this crisis Chennai is in today is essentially man-made. Haphazard urbanisation, utter disregard for keeping balance with nature, complete absence of any method of restoration to compensate for rapid exploitation are the reasons for the plight of Chennai. But, even though the crisis looms large the spirit of survival also makes its way in. As the Monsoons are eagerly awaited, Dr. Sekhar Raghavan, popularly known as Chennai's "Rain Man", has been on a crusade for over two decades to encourage rainwater harvesting in the city. His tireless efforts not only allay the desperate situation, they are now applauded. In the middle of a water crisis, the eco-warrior receives nearly 20 phone calls daily, inquiring how housing complexes can implement a harvesting system. Rainwater harvesting was introduced extensively about two decades ago but since the need for such a remedy was not so pressing, it was not taken very seriously. Rainwater harvesting is essentially an infrastructural element that must be mandatorily included. The solution to recurring drought is a replenished water table. And an organised and systematic method to bring to effect this solution is rainwater harvesting. In the times of climate change, when floods are as devastating as the strikes of drought, the necessity is to heed the balance of excess and deprivation. Dr. Sekhar Raghavan is relentlessly doing more than his share for common good but an integrated method to implement initiatives is the solution to this looming crisis.

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