WORLD WATER DAY 2020
Water is the Oil of the Future
Due to its scarcity as well as huge importance, water is considered the “oil of the future” because every human being needs food to get energy for survival. In this context, along with soil and sunshine, water is a basic ingredient of agriculture. If we don’t have water, we cannot cultivate any food stuff. Similarly, even if we have got enough food to eat, water still is an essential part of our daily food intake. Food experts suggest that every individual needs around two litres of water per day.
Petroleum was discovered in the late 19th century in USA and Europe, and later in the Middle East during the decades of 1920s and 1930s. Due to the key importance of oil as an energy resource, it was named “liquid black gold”. Hence discovery of oil brought paradigmatic shift in the fate of Middle East. Since there was no effort put by the people in this production of oil, so it was regarded as a ‘geological lottery” that made the Middle East richest part of the world in terms of per-capita income. In future scenario, however, richness of a certain area or a country will be determined by the water resources. So countries will be categorized as “water-rich or water-poor countries”.
In 1992, World Environmental Conference was held in Brazil, in which it was decided that World Water Day will be celebrated every year on 22nd of March. In the last century, one of the popular political slogans was that “food, shelter and clothing” is basic right of every human being. But with the passage of time, especially due to the abnormal population growth and increased impact put by an individual on the environment, issue of clean water, air and land has also surfaced. Now people are in pursuit of safe water and air more than food and shelter – rather water itself is food. Approximately, every fourth person in the world does not have access to the safe drinking water, and the number is growing. If we take the example of Pakistan, only 25% areas of the country have access to safe water. Not only Pakistan but also the whole south Asia is facing colossal threat of water shortage.
Water is availed through rivers and rainfall. A country having enough of both is considered very lucky and gifted. Moreover, if a country does not have abundant rainfall but has a major river passing through its territory, it still can have sufficient water to use for drinking purposes and land cultivation. One such typical example is Egypt which consists of deserts but is blessed with the water of River Nile. That’s why Egypt is called the ‘Gift of the Nile’. Rural development due to agriculture in Egypt is only along the banks of River Nile. Prosperity of Egypt, unlike its neighbouring countries, is only due to the water of the Nile.
Experts have suggested that flow of river is a ‘life line’ and it is rightly so because wherever a river flows, life prospers. If we look at the big example of Pakistan, the fifth largest country by population, we find that agriculture is possible in the country mainly due to the canal irrigation system in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh. On the other hand, the province of Balochistan gives a sight of desert just because it doesn’t have any major river. More so, in Faisalabad and Sargodha divisions of Punjab province, water is not suitable to drink. That’s why water-borne diseases are more common in these areas. One interesting observation in these areas is of canals passing through as in the absolute vicinity of canals, water is healthy so it is pumped out and transported and sold to the households.
Everybody is well aware that one of the potential reasons of a future war between India and Pakistan is water. A major reason for shortage of water in India and Pakistan is population growth. India, with an average increase of 17 million people annually, is going to be the world’s most populous country in coming 3 to 5 years. Whereas, Pakistan has become the fifth most populous country with an annual increase of 5 million people to its already burgeoning population. So, owing to the very same reason of unbridled population growth, both countries are facing acute water shortages. As major rivers of Pakistan flow from India into Pakistan, the former, with a nefarious design to strangulate the latter, has nearly completed two controversial dams in order to stop or reduce the supply of water to Pakistan – strengthening the apprehensions of a water war between the two in future.
If we analyse the importance of water in our life, we come to know that water is to us what oil is to any vehicle. Whatever we eat is mainly wheat stuff. Wheat is cultivated with the help of water. Then it is made edible with the help of water. In the end, we need water while having every meal to digest food. More so, water takes priority on food in the season of summer. So, one can easily understand that just like a vehicle cannot move without oil, any human cannot move without food and any food cannot be produced or digested without water. So, water acts like oil for humans.
Water is even more precious than oil and this can be understood by the fact that oil can be replaced by electricity, coal and solar energy but replacement of water is only water. So, we need to be always on alert regarding water resources. To do so, we need to create water sense among the masses. If we mentioned one example – apparently a small, but practically a giant one – is that of brushing your teeth in the morning. While doing so, if the tap keeps running an estimated 20 to 25 litres of water gets wasted. So is the example of having shaves. Other everyday facts regarding water sense are those of doing laundry, dishwashing and washing of vehicles.
An expert has beautifully analyzed the importance of water by resembling the pollutant, normal and healthy water with diesel oil, petrol, and hi-octane accordingly. So, be careful in your life what you are drinking, what are you drinking?