Scarcity of drinking water: Water will precede roti, kapda and makaan soon
Water has now become a commodity. There is no dearth of water on our planet. But many people die every year due to shortage of drinking water. Coming to India, water bottling, and selling it is a lucrative business. There are many big players in this field like- Coca Cola and many small local players.
Nowadays, the price of bottled water is sometimes higher than that of milk. Decades ago, nobody ever thought that water would become a saleable commodity. Water was available for free in rivers, lakes and wells for free then. Nobody ever had the idea that even water could be transformed into a saleable good and make profit out of it.
Soon after the industrial revolution, our needs increased exponentially. Till then, we had been using it for our basic needs like drinking, bathing, farming etc. Enter the Industrial revolution and we found our need for water increasing. Soon, individuals with an enterprising mind entered the scene with the idea of selling water. Since then, this resource has been exploited and abused by many companies.
As far as these companies are concerned, the raw material- water was freely available. All they had to do was to purify it and sell it. They did this task so efficiently that the profits made by them was very remarkable. Companies like Coca Cola and Pepsico are competing against each other to get their fair share of profit.
Surveys show that wherever these MNCs put up a plant, they end up destabilising the ground water table. Ponds dry up, crops fail and even traditional sources of water like wells dry up. So, when one has no water for farming- which, apparently is their primary job, how will they earn money? What will they eat? These companies clock up impressive figures of profit in each quarterly report. But on the other side, we get to hear heart-breaking stories of farmer suicides and hunger deaths.
Above case can be seen in various villages in our country. But what if these MNCs end up acquiring the water-supply services of our big cities? Just imagine the ensuing situation. The working people, already plagued by the rising prices of essential commodities like petrol will have to deal with another headache then. The MNCs, which are driven by their targets of profit making are eyeing the water supply services of cities too.
If our government doesn’t manage the water resources efficiently and end the privatisation of water, we will find drinking water a costly commodity, just like petrol. Deaths due to lack of drinking water will increase and the poor will have to compromise with the quality of the water they consume. Act now or regret later.