The ‘Dynamic Ground Water Resources Of India’ report of the Central Groundwater Board showed that 1,499 out of 6,881 assessed units in 2017 were in ‘over-exploited’ and ‘critical’ categories. The report sought urgent change in the extraction pattern of groundwater and surface water interventions.
Nearly 22 per cent of underground water resources in the country have either dried up or are in the critical category, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on November 22.
At a time when water crisis is crippling the country, Paani Project is an initiative which aims at raising awareness about water conservation in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. With door-to-door campaigns organised every Sunday and planning awareness drives for localities, the project is carried out by a core team of 14 members.
In total, 76 volunteers from Dehradun and around 21 from the rest of the country are spreading the word about water conservation in Uttarakhand, and the country.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Harish Kumar, Founder of Paani Project said: “Every morning, on my way to college, I used to see people from many households washing their cars, floor and roads, all this with a pipe in hand and a running tap. They used to waste hundreds of litres of water every morning, it was their daily routine.”
“On the other hand, almost every day, there is an article in the newspaper on the water crisis in India and abroad. Then news broke about the water crisis in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and more Indian cities,” Harish added.
One day, Harish decided to write a long Facebook post on the same issue and asked people to join him. Unfortunately, the response was not good, as only one girl came out in his support.
“I realized that people don’t read long posts. Hence, I decided to make a Facebook video on the same. A lot of people watched and shared the video and I got some 5 to 6 people more in the team. This is how Project Paani started,” Harish said.
“When we target a locality, we check the total number of lanes and houses every Saturday in advance, and we divide the number of Houses among team members. We also create a Facebook event for all the campaigns asking people to join us,” Harish said.
So far, Paani Project has done seven door-to-door campaigns in Dehradun. The last campaign was a door-to-door poster campaign where they targeted places that attracted a large number of visitors like restaurants, hotel, shops etc.
The project is also running a digital campaign on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where they upload water-saving techniques and awareness messages so that people understand the importance of the issue.
Team Member Mr. Saurabh Pandey educating a resident of Turner Road on importance of water and how we can minimize water in our homes. WeAll think ! What change only one home can make? We have to change this mentality and start saving water in our houses. #ProjectPaani#DoorToDoorCampaign
Project Paani – Save Water Save Life ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಗುರುವಾರ, ನವೆಂಬರ್ 21, 2019
“People call us and complain about water pipe leakages in their society. We then raise a complaint about it and if authorities don’t do anything, we fix the leakage ourselves,” Harish said.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Rs 3.5 lakh crore will be spent in the next five years under the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide piped water (‘Har Ghar Jal’) to all rural households by 2024. However, several parts of the country still remain thirsty and do not have access to drinking water or for other purposes.
The project is now likely to be extended to villages to teach villagers better water management techniques. Project Paani is a step towards creating awareness among citizens about the water crisis in India and also educating them on effective water usage.