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Consume Responsibly

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As summer approaches – going by the temperatures, some would say it is already here – problems of water and power supply will increase, with consumption levels going up. The State Government will need tom very likely, purchase power from external sources at higher costs. Uttarakhand’s varied terrain also creates different types of challenges with regard to water supply, as many natural sources dry up. Mountain villages that were self-sufficient in this regard now need to be provided water in various ways.

It is not just the rise in population that causes the problem – there are a range of factors involved from climate change down to irresponsible management. Water supply schemes proposed a long time ago have been delayed due to several reasons, including lack of political will. Cities like Mussoorie and Nainital are bearing the brunt. The problem is aggravated by the enormous floating population of tourists and pilgrims that arrives during this season.

There is also the issue of unequal distribution of water. While the well-to-do splurge even more excessively in watering their gardens and lawns, the poor have to struggle for even regular drinking water supply. While air-conditioners are switched on, transformer tripping invariably takes place in poorer areas of the city – mostly because of poor transmission infrastructure.

It is important for the general public to be informed about these and other factors that make the situation worse, because responsible consumption practices can help reduce the burden on the system. People complain about the rising cost of electricity but one would not guess that from how liberally it is used. Leaving lights, fans, air-conditioners on even when one is not present is common practice.

Those who have access to ground water are also consuming in a very short-sighted manner. Ground water levels in all parts of Uttarakhand are going down, which does not augur well for the future. Already, agriculturists, particularly small farmers, are facing shortages and increased costs of boring even deeper for water. There is not enough rain or water accumulation to replenish the stocks. The crisis, when it comes, will hit in a big way – just as the subsidence did in Joshimath. It is only if society as a whole collaborates in a holistic programme to adopt conservation practices, the future promises to be bleak. The impact on the general quality of life will also be felt, both, economically and socially. So, consume responsibly, be it water or electricity.