Water, a vital resource: waste not, want not

Development Policy13 Feb 2013Jayanti Kirplani

Water security requires a different perspective towards water-use: If we don’t waste it now, we will still have water in the future.

Without dwelling on how vital a resource water is for life (our life!) on planet Earth, and without elaborating how water scarcity impacts the lives of countless human souls on planet Earth, I feel it is best to begin with my own personal relationship and responsibility towards this valuable resource.

My own personal relationship with water is one of extreme care, caution and enormous respect – to use it economically, equitably and sustainably.

As a member of a faith-based organization, a spiritual organization that believes in the possibility of world transformation based on individual self-transformation, I learnt a very wise slogan that I have come to use in all walks of my life. The slogan is “Waste not, want not”.

What that means is “If we don’t waste what we have, we’ll still have it in the future and will not lack (want) it.”

Looking at it from the cause and effect perspective, if I do not over-consume, over-use, exploit, abuse or waste water, I will not lack it in the future.

When communities embrace this slogan, nations benefit and prosperity is assured. Over-consumption and wastage of all things valuable is the bane of today’s world. In the name of modernization, the developed world consumes far more than its sustainable quota depriving the under-privileged.

When people are denied their rightful and equitable access to any resource, the ‘karmic’ debt of that denial weighs on the entire planet.

When individuals exercise personal responsibility towards water, they will become catalysts for cooperation from groups, communities and even nations to come together and meet the challenge of water security for all. In my opinion the only way to transcend cultural, political and social barriers and tensions in the way of water security, is to empower the individual to do the ‘right’ thing.

In summary, the message I wish to bring to all is one of personal responsibility down to the individual level. When I change, the world changes.