Who knew that 2022 would also disrupt our lives like the Covid-19 pandemic did. The world is now bound by the common thread of energy crisis and increasing prices. We searched for universalist ideas. We got these for now.
At work, I was asked to suggest a few points to respond to the question – How do hot countries who consistently have no rain cope then? It was to be a part of an interview on how to manage the prevailing water crisis and drought-like situation in the UK. The question was posed to a colleague.
It helps to be honest about one’s work. Driven with this idea, I thought I should try keeping it uncomplicated and easy to understand. The question tried to look at how to people in arid regions of the world cope with less water. Water crisis and droughts are as familiar to India as the cheer during the arrival of monsoon. The following two thoughts from working in water sector for some years now. And, how I have tried to approach it when on projects and assignments.
1) Less rain means less available water – This is not very different from how less money and more money conditions our consumption. In other words less water leads to downsizing water needs. So, most of the arid regions live a lower LPCD life (litres per capita per day). Some call it water poverty. Just as now there is energy poverty in UK and Europe.
2) Temporality of rain and available water stocks matter – arid regions have developed highly evolved water harvesting and recharge processes and systems. That helps in making water available during drier spells.
The work I do is conscious of the temporality. The project designs make this a central consideration and therefore try to achieve minimum necessary water requirements first (which could be about 40 lpcd) and then in a tiered manner move the needle towards meeting other needs through conscious water resources engineering and management.
There could be an elegant way of saying this. The work is done with a non-profit. So the communication about social responsibility, sustainable development, sustainable management , our collective future etc is often foregrounded. But, I think it boils down to this – cope with the variables given in the now and then plan for contingencies in the future.