Water is essential for everybody. No living being can survive without water. Life on earth is not possible without water. We use water for many purposes. Some examples are given below.
This chapter has been named EVERY DROP COUNTS. This means that in this lesson, you will learn about scarcity of water. You will also learn about water harvesting.
India is a huge country. Every year, during the rainy season, some parts of the country get plenty of rainfall. But some other parts of the country get negligible rain. When there is flood in Assam, Bengal and Bihar there can be drought in Rajasthan. This means that availability of water is a problem at many places.
There are many big rivers in India. These rivers are filled with water for the whole year. But there are many other rivers which become dry in rainy season.
Today, people of most of the towns and villages face the problem of scarcity of water. In most of the cities, water comes to people’s homes through pipelines. But very few homes get regular supply of water. In some neighbourhoods, water is supplied by tankers. Whenever a tanker comes, hundreds of people have to fight with each other to get water.
Some people have other arrangements for getting water. Rich people have bore-wells in their houses. They use water pump to get water from bore-well. Some people use hand-pump to get water from under the ground. Some other sources of water are, well, river and pond.
Earth has plenty of water. But most of the water on earth is in oceans and seas. Water from ocean has lot of salt. In other words, it is saline water. Saline water is not fit for human consumption. Very small portion of water is in the form of freshwater. We need freshwater for drinking and for all other purposes. Freshwater is available in rivers and ponds and under the ground.
Water which is available under the ground is called groundwater. Well and bore-well are dug to take out groundwater.
When it rains, most of the rainwater seeps in the ground. This recharges groundwater reservoir. But because of too much construction of buildings and roads, this system has been disturbed. As a result, natural recharge of groundwater has been disturbed. So, level of water in groundwater reservoirs is going down. The level of water in groundwater reservoirs is called water table.
When some structure or a system is made to collect rainwater, it is called rainwater harvesting. Rainwater is collected in open tanks or underground tanks. Some of this seeps under the ground and recharges groundwater. Some of this water is directly used by people. Our country has a long history of rainwater harvesting. It was especially done in those states where rainfall is scarce. Even today, old structures of rainwater harvesting can be seen at many places in Rajasthan and neighbouring states. There are different names for such structures. For example, step well, baoli, talab, etc.
You have read about Ghadsisar of Jaisalmer in this chapter. Sar is Hindi word which means a lake. This lake was made by king Ghadsi of Jaisalmer around 650 years ago. The lake is surrounded by steps which lead to the lake. There are verandahs, rooms, halls and many more structures around the lake. The lake was a hub of all sorts of activities, like festivals and many other rituals. Students even came to attend classes. This lake was connected to many other lakes. During rainy season, when the main lake started to overflow with water, the water flowed into other lakes to fill them. Similar step wells can be seen at many other places in Rajasthan. These rainwater harvesting structures were very useful. They ensured supply of water for the whole year.
Tarun Bharat Sangh is a group of people which helps in building rainwater harvesting structures. If a village suffers from shortage of water, it can ask for help from Tarun Bharat Sangh. People from this group come and revive old structures for water harvesting. They also help in reviving an abandoned lake or pond. Reviving an old pond helps in conservation of water.
There are many customs and rituals related to water. When a new bride comes, she goes to worship the well. Now-a-days, a new bride performs this ritual near a tap because wells have become rare. People generally use special pots to keep drinking water. Some of the pots can have beautiful designs carved on them. Water taps also come in beautiful designs. Some ancient taps are shaped like mouth of some imaginary creatures. These customs speak about the importance of water for us.
You have understood that water is precious for us. So, we should not waste a single drop of water. You can follow these steps to conserve water.
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