Water Crisis in Siliguri
“A drop of water is worth more than a sack of gold to a thirsty man.”
The submontane town of Siliguri has never before faced such a taxing problem as that of the water crisis which has recently plagued the entire region. Due to the climatic changes occurring at a pandemic scale, the once “cool” town now suffers a 37-degree Celsius climate and amidst this summertime sadness an added humidity of above 80%. These factors have led to a decrease in the surface water level thereby making Siliguri a water scarce area highly dependent on the rain and Teesta River. The Teesta River which has its source in the Tso Lhamo lake (Teesta Khangse glacier) and drains in the Bay of Bengal is a major source of water for the inhabitants. The town has 12 water tankers that distribute water to the wards which is pretty insubstantial considering the total population which is just above 700,000.
The olden and golden days of Siliguri boasted a consistent rainfall of 2 to 3 days. Currently due to the scarcity of rain, the underground water level gets depleted and a severe case of water crisis arises. Moreover, with the recent breakdown of water filtration plants, water purification problems have cropped up. Our insincere efforts towards water conservation and harvesting the rainwater have contributed significantly in lowering down the ground water level as Benjamin Franklin quotes “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” We have been blamed with major sins such as polluting the river water of Teesta and wasting drinking water. The assemblage of all our negative behavioral patterns has culminated into the water emergency that our townsmen face. It is not just the duty of the Municipal Corporation to carry on intrinsic and extrinsic repairs but also to aware the public about the major consequences that are about to follow and the preventive measures considering the fact that water is a basic human necessity.
Educating and creating awareness among the townspeople is the only alternative other than large scale afforestation. While afforestation of acres and acres of land can be a great medicinal aid to the environment, unless we learn the proper practices of conserving water we cannot move towards a holistically managed bona fide ecosystem. Climate change and water scarcity hold a reciprocal relationship and we can address both by bringing in a change in our daily life and pattern of water consumption. So, this weekend let us participate in bringing about a change in our environment and reassuring nature that: “We are here for you” since “No Water, No Life!” As Margaret Thatcher says, “No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy—with a full repairing lease.”
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