Learn to love nature Water crisis has become a serious for serious worry. Our rivers and the Himalayan ecology are getting destroyed.
We treat our rivers as tradable commodities. Development now means making a fast buck from nature. High dams are obstructing river flows. Rivers thrive only if they flow freely. The natural free-flowing water is clean, even drinkable. Reservoirs turn it into trapped, stagnant water. Now the existence of many rivers is under threat.
Water in the Ganga is reduced by almost half, quality is affected. The glaciers at Gaumukh have receded; at Gangotri the water channel stands alarmingly reduced.
We Indians have a reverential approach towards rivers.
Flowing water has links with civilisations and culture.
Habitations come up along river routes. At this time of water shortage, it is imperative to evolve a sensible approach towards nature.
A Himalayan river like the Ganga brings along nutrientrich soil down to the IndoGangetic plains, contributing to land-formation and fertility of soil. This stops happening as dams as in Tehri and others will trap this rich silt. Result: farmers may be forced to use chemical fertilisers far in excess.
We should learn to value and appreciate the natural river flows. River bank communities ought to be involved in protection and ensuring purity of river waters.
However, micro-hydel projects, that do not disrupt river flow, are welcome. They could be used to lift water to regions for afforestation.
If we wish to save India from water crisis, we ought to cover the lower Himalayas with trees. This may develop into a people's movement.
Care should be taken to plant mixed species, specifically trees with broad leaves. The roots of trees with broad leaves spread far and wide conserve water and enrich the soil.
Plantations providing nuts, edible oilseeds, flowering trees for honey, seasonal fruit, fibre, medicinal plants and timber should cover the lower regions of the Himalayas that give to north India snow-fed perennial rivers. Once these are done, the bliss of free-flowing rivers will bless us all, and life could be richer and happier.