India’s water crisis shows it’s best not to mess with Mother Nature
• Thousands of villages in India are suffering from a catastrophic water shortage as local sources dry up.
• In the state of Punjab, water that was once plentiful now costs a fortune.
• The system of canals built by the government during India’s “Green Revolution” is contributing to the problem.
• Many Indians must make multiple long trips to fetch water.
• Farmers have begun to commit suicide due to crop failures caused by a lack of water.
Water has become a luxury for the people in the Indian state of Punjab. Thousands of villages here rely on water deliveries from elsewhere. People have to pay exorbitant prices for water that their state once had in abundance.
Farmers can no longer afford to grow food, their crops are dying, and they are left with enormous debts.
The devastation has led many to take their own lives. Meanwhile the authorities turn a blind eye to the mass suicides.
The crisis has been brought on by a combination of global climate change and unintended consequences of India’s green revolution. The country’s agricultural infrastructure is not effective. Traditional methods of gathering and preserving rainwater offer rural dwellers some relief, but are insufficient during a drought.
The drastic water shortage dictates people’s lives here, with many spending significant amounts of their time on obtaining water: whether it be queueing for a tanker, waiting their turn at a half-dried well or digging reservoirs by hand in the hope of collecting some rainwater.
To ensure their families’ survival, they come up with desperate arrangements – such as polygamous marriages; and have to prioritise what to spend their precious water on.
To see with your own eyes how obtaining water has become a matter of life or death for the people of sun-scorched Punjab, follow our film crew in H2WOE onRTD documentaries.