June 14, 2024

The Scoop India

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Is water conflict now the war of the future?

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BY- RAJEEV CHOUDHARY

Raksha Adela Housing Society of Greater Noida West has been facing water shortage for seven days. Thousands of people living in many pocket societies in Dwarka, the capital Delhi, are suffering from water shortage. People have protested against the lack of water supply in Express Zenith Society located in Sector-77 of Noida. Many societies located in Gurugram are also facing water shortage.

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These days there are elections in the country. About five phases have passed. But I have not heard the issue of clean water yet. Someone is selling the country, someone is selling the buffalo, there are issues ranging from Mangalsutra to temple and mosque, but no political party is ready to say whether the people of the country will get water or will they die of thirst?

Today ponds, wells, canals etc. are drying up and river water has become badly polluted. If the governments do not understand the importance of water in time, then the day is not far when the entire country will be seen facing water crisis. May this situation not give rise to a new conflict and this water crisis may not turn into a world water war.

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Many people may say that nothing like this will happen! But we can take everything from the past. The beginning of the 20th century, the wars over oil gave a new shape to the world. Is it possible that the 21st century will create new wars over water and maps of the world will have to be redrawn?

You pick up a book related to science or Vedic religion. One thing is clear in that at the time of creation of man there was water in abundance. But will this water last?   Whereas water is the basis of life and continuous development of human beings, but will it remain in future or will it disappear?

It is possible that our questions today may get drowned in the noise of religious debates on news channels and rallies of political parties, but are we not heading towards a terrible war for water? For the last several decades, the Secretaries General of the United Nations Has warned on water conflict. In 1985, Boutros-Ghali had said that the next war would be fought not for politics but for water. Subsequently, in 2001, Kofi Annan warned that fierce competition for drinking water could become a source of conflict and war in the future. In 2007, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that water scarcity is such a big threat that it is going to become a powerful fuel for wars and conflicts in the coming years.

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Researchers are saying that in the 20th century, water use has increased at more than double the rate of population. Due to this, cities around the world – from Lima and Cape Town to Basra and Chennai – are yearning for water. But we cannot escape by taking the name of one Chennai city, today many cities in India are seen standing in queues of Chennai with buckets of water.

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Water crises have been ranked in the top five of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks by Impact list every year since 2012. The situation reached its peak in 2017. Persistent water shortages have forced more than 20 million people to flee their homes across Africa and the Middle East. These figures show that this number was displaced after the bomb blasts in the Second World War and the nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Can we call this the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II? UN and World Bank predictions consistently state that water scarcity affects approximately 40% of the world’s population, with 700 million people at risk of displacement due to drought by 2030.

Not only this, a World Bank report even says that water shortage will lead to displacement and conflict. Analysts say increasing water scarcity will lead to violent conflict. Because dishonest politicians, powerful corporations, and powerless people will fight over diminishing water supplies. The results have also started coming in. The conflicts between many states regarding rivers and water are not hidden from anyone. Apart from this, in housing societies the corporation officials and the public come face to face. Fights over water are common in the streets.

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It is possible that some people may still not agree with this danger. But they have to think that three decades ago, who would have thought that in a country like India, the minimum price of one liter drinking water would be Rs 20? If a windfall tax like oil is imposed on it, apart from this, state and central taxes are also imposed, then will we get one liter of water at the same rate as petrol and diesel?

The reason behind giving this example is from journalist Steven Solomon’s book Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization in which he says that many conflicts in the modern world will be fought over water because it is “the world’s most scarce vital resource”. I am going to surpass oil. Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh, also known as the Water Man of India, had said that the government, corporate sector in India is playing with the five elements, especially water.   At the time of independence, there were 15 lakh water bodies in rural India, but now more than 12 lakh water bodies have either become victims of encroachment or are polluted. Almost 72% of the water bodies are drying up, people are living thirsty, the water which we were using for free for centuries is also being taken over by the corporates.

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Due to this, conflict continues in different parts of the world. In Syria, between Israel and Palestine, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Bolivia and Chile, and Turkey, Syria and Iraq, the real disputes have shifted from oil to control over rivers and water resources. Water War: This is just a trailer of the water war, as the population increases and the demand for water will increase, this war will move from streets, neighborhoods and societies to a war of states and countries. Now is the time to act, remember the future of our planet depends only on water. We have to save water and make proper use of water. Due to lowering of ground water level, incidents of earth bursting are continuously happening in different parts of the country and this is a part of our exploitation of nature. After independence, several hundreds of years old dams were broken, they used to irrigate several hundred bighas of land, after breaking the dams they were used for housing, due to which the rain water is not used and gets completely wasted in the drains. And forests are being continuously cut down, due to which the time cycle of rain has been completely disturbed.

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We have to start saving water today by making proper use of it from our home itself. We have to ensure that there is no wastage of water and we have to convince the people around us not to waste water. Only then will we be able to give two sips of water to the next generation. If we don’t do it then we will have to fight a war. We will have to think about it today only.

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