With heavy showers of blessings during the past few days, we may tend to think that we could use water freely or even waste it. But global warming has changed weather patterns and monsoons are generally limited, so there is a need to ensure that not even a single drop of rain water goes waste.
At a time when water is plentiful it is a good time to conserve water for a dry period.
Whatever the politicians do or do not do, this is the time for the people of this country to act in a spirit of undiluted patriotism and conserve water in big ways and small because when little drops of water are saved they could make a mighty ocean.
We also need to be aware of a much bigger international problem over water which is vital for life. Just as the Soviet Union, United States and other countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) went to war in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries over the past few decades to gain control of oil and natural gas resources, analysts believe there will be wars for dwindling clean water resources in the coming decade.
Over the past 20 years, subtle attempts have been made by transnational companies to gain control of Sri Lanka’s major rivers. Alert civic action groups created public awareness to prevent this, but with the economy in troubled waters these days the authorities might be forced or tempted to sell our rivers. We hope the independent media and civic action groups will be alert to prevent Sri Lanka from having to lament over the rivers of no return.
Anyway the people need to be aware of many ways in which they could conserve water not just to reduce their water bills but for the sake of the country and generations to come. When washing the face, hands, cups, glasses, plates or other utensils, we should open the tap only half way and close it while applying soap. If we are taking a shower bath for 15 minutes, it could be reduced to ten. As they do in the West now, we need to devise methods of channelling water from the bathroom to the cistern in the toilet. Water saved after washing food or utensils could be used for watering plants or washing vehicles. If we see a street tap open or water flowing from a pipeline that has burst, we must be public spirited and close the tap or inform the Water Board about the water gushing out of the pipeline.
In these and other ways, if every person could save about ten litres of water a day this would amount to the saving of about 200 million litres a day. If seen in terms of months and years, it will be like a mighty ocean.