Places, People and Visual Stories

Water, the lifeline……

Water is essential for all dimensions of life. Over the past few decades, use of water has increased, and in many places water availability is falling to crisis levels. More than eighty countries, with forty percent of the world’s population, are already facing water shortages, while by year 2020 the world’s population will double. The costs of water infrastructure have risen dramatically. The quality of water in rivers and underground has deteriorated, due to pollution by waste and contaminants from cities, industry and agriculture. Ecosystems are being destroyed, sometimes permanently. Over one billion people lack safe water, and three billion lack sanitation; eighty per cent of infectious diseases are waterborne, killing millions of children each year.

World Bank Institue
WATER POLICY REFORM PROGRAM
 
 

Civilizations are born around water - Varanasi, India
Civilizations are born around water – Varanasi, India

 
 
“The pancha mahabhuta, or “five great elements”, of Hinduism are kshiti or bhūmi (earth), ap or jala (water), tejas or agni (fire), marut or pavan (air or wind), vyom or shunya or akash (aether or void). Hindus believe that all of creation, including the human body, is made up of these five essential elements and that upon death, the human body dissolves into these five elements of nature, thereby balancing the cycle of nature.

According to one of the principal texts of Hindu philosophy, the Tattwa Kaumudi authored by Vachaspati in the 9th century A.D., the Creator used akasha (ether), the most “subtle” element, to create the other four traditional elements; each element created is in turn used to create the next element, each less subtle than the last. The five elements are associated with the five senses, and act as the gross medium for the experience of sensations.

The basest element, earth, created using all the other elements, can be perceived by all five senses – hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell. The next higher element, water, has no odor but can be heard, felt, seen and tasted. Next comes fire, which can be heard, felt and seen. Air can be heard and felt. “Akasha” (ether) is the medium of sound but is inaccessible to all other senses.”
– Classical Five Elements – Wikipedia
 
 

Empires flourished on the banks of rivers. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Empires flourished on the banks of rivers. Taj Mahal, Agra, India

 
 

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water
– LORAN EISELY,

 
 

Empires continue to raise... Dubai, UAE
Empires continue to raise… Dubai, UAE

 
 

Water has become a highly precious resource. There are some places where a barrel of water costs more than a barrel of oil.

 
 

Water creates the beauty around that fills the chest with pride, Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Water creates the beauty around that fills the chest with pride, Srinagar, Kashmir, India

 
 

Every peasant is proud of the pond in his village because from it he measures the sea.
– Russian proverb

 
 

Lives took off around water.....Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Lives took off around water….., Srinagar, Kashmir, India

 
 

When you drink the water, remember the spring

 
 

With the magic comes the frolic ...Guruvayur, Kerala, India
With the magic comes the frolic … Guruvayur, Kerala, India

 
 

No one can see their reflection in running water.
It is only in still water that we can see.
– Taoist proverb

 
 

Also the deprived will understand the preciousness...Camel farm, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India
Also the deprived will understand the preciousness…Camel farm, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

 
 

Water is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips.
JEAN GIRAUDOUX

 
 

The occasional drizzle brings in celebrations, Delhi, India
The occasional drizzle brings in celebrations, Delhi, India

 
 

Of all our planet’s activities–geological movements, the reproduction and decay of biota, and even the disruptive propensities of certain species (elephants and humans come to mind)–no force is greater than the hydrologic cycle.
RICHARD BANGS and CHRISTIAN KALLEN, Rivergods, 1985

 

Nature bountiful! North Sikkim, India
Nature bountiful! North Sikkim, India

 
 

“Water is the driver of Nature.”
– Leonardo da Vinci

 
 

Flourishing tropical forests,  India
Flourishing tropical forests, India

 
 

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.”
– John Updike

 
 

Facilitates abundance of food stocks, By train, Assam, India
Facilitates abundance of food stocks, By train, Assam, India

 
 

Truths are first clouds; then rain, then harvest and food.”
– Henry Ward Beecher

 
 

Dip Dip...Mahakumbh 2010 - Haridwar, India
Dip Dip…Mahakumbh 2010 – Haridwar, India

 
 

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
– Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Sun

 
 

The drizzle that gives the 'ah' feeling in crowded cities, Delhi, India
The drizzle that gives the ‘ah’ feeling in crowded cities, Delhi, India

 
 

Rain does not fall on one roof alone.
– Proverb from Cameroon

 
 

TThe frolic and fun the downpour brings about, Delhi, India
The frolic and fun the downpour brings about, Delhi, India

 
 

I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain;
What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.
– Arthur Freed

 
 

The water that poured when in abundance, we hardly cared. Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand, India
The water that poured when in abundance, we hardly cared. Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand, India

 
 

It is water, in every form and at every scale, that saturates the mind.
All the water that will ever be is, right now.
– National Geographic

 
 

when flow thins, it strikes us, still we do not wake up. Varanasi, India
when flow thins, it strikes us, still we do not wake up. Varanasi, India

 
 

Freedom alone is not enough without light to read at night,
without time or access to water to irrigate your farm,
without the ability to catch fish to feed your family.
– Nelson Mandela

 
 

I am set for the day - Chawri Bazar to Jama Masjid, India
I am set for the day – Chawri Bazar to Jama Masjid, India

 
 

Do not bathe if there is no water.
– Shan proverb

 
 

Scores of Pratibhas, Meiras and Sonias walk miles to get couple of litres of water, Khamshet, India
Scores of Pratibhas, Meiras and Sonias walk miles to get couple of litres of water, Khamshet, India

 
 

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.
– Jacques Cousteau

 
 

waiting for the rain, the water for sustenance, Gujarat, India
waiting for the rain, the water for sustenance, Gujarat, India

 
 

Day after day we looked for rain, and day after day we saw
nothing but the sun. Lavender that we had planted in the spring
died. The patch of grass in front of the house abandoned
its ambitions to become a lawn and turned into the dirty yellow
of poor straw. The earth shrank, revealing its knuckles and
bones, rocks and roots that had been invisible before.
– Peter Mayle

 

“By 2025, at least 3.5 billion people – about half the world’s populations – will live in areas without enough
water for agriculture, industry, and human needs… Worldwide, water quality conditions appear to have
degraded in almost all regions with intensive agriculture and in large urban and industrial areas.”
– World Resources Institute, October 2000

 

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4 responses

  1. Wonderful photo essay!

    September 8, 2012 at 6:32 am

  2. It’s such an important issue – I can’t understand why it’s not on everyone’s agenda – but no, half the world’s population will have to be closer to annihilation before we take it seriously. Sometime I despair, then I see young people like you taking up the banners, and I begin to feel optimistic again 🙂

    September 25, 2012 at 6:45 am

    • Indeed Meredith! The future wars will have water very central to them, for sure and no amount of effort is enough to meet the demands of the world. Thanks for your thoughts. love.

      September 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

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