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Will thirst Become Unquenchable?

Will thirst Become Unquenchable? Nature centered literary works and Global issue Environment and conservation.

Will thirst Become Unquenchable?

 

1. It is not yet noon in Delhi, just 180 miles south of the Himalayan glaciers. But in the narrow corridors of Nehru Camp, a slum in this city of 16 million, the blast furnace of the north Indian summer has already sent temperatures soaring past 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Chaya, the 25-year-old wife of a fortune-teller, has spent seven hours joining the mad scramble for water that even today defines life in this heaving metropolis and offers a taste of what the depletion of Tibet’s water and ice portends.

2. Chaya’s day began long before sunrise, when she and her five children fanned out in the darkness, armed with plastic jugs of every size. After day break, the rumor of a tap with running water sent her stumbling in a panic through the slum’s narrow corridors. Now, with her containers still empty and the sun blazing overhead, she has returned home for a moment’s rest. Asked if she’s eaten anything today, she laughs: “We haven’t even had any tea yet.”

3. Suddenly cries erupt – a water truck has been spotted. Chaya leaps up and joins the human torrent in the street. A dozen boys swarm onto a blue tanker, jamming hoses in and siphoning the water out. Below, shouting women jostle for position with their containers. In six minutes the tanker is empty. Chaya arrived too late and must move on to chase the next rumour of water.

4. More than two-thirds of the city’s water is drawn from the Yamuna and the Ganges, rivers fed by Himalayan ice. If that ice disappears, the future will almost certainly be worse. “We are facing an unsustainable situation,” says Diwan Singh, a Delhi environmental activist. “Soon – not in thirty years but in five to ten – there will be an exodus because of the lack of water.”

5. The tension already seethes. In the clogged alleyway around one of Nehru Camp’s last functioning taps, which run for one hour a day, a man punches a woman who cut in line, leaving a purple blow on her face.

6. “We wake up every morning fighting over water,” says Kamal Bhate, a local astrologer watching the melee. This one dissolves into shouting and finger-pointing, but the brawls can be deadly. In a nearby slum a teenage boy was recently beaten to death for cutting in line.

7. Climate change and diminishing water supplies could reduce cereal yields in South Asia by 5 percent within three decades. “We’re going to see rising tension over shared water resources, including political disputes between farmers, between farmers and cities, and between human and ecological demands for water,” says Peter Gleick, a water expert and President of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California. “And I believe more of these tensions will lead to violence.”

8. For the people in Nehru Camp, geopolitical concerns are lost in the frenzied pursuit of water. In the afternoon, a tap outside the slum is suddenly turned on, and Chaya, smiling triumphantly, hauls back a full, ten-gallon jug on top of her head. The water is dirty and bitter, and there are no means to boil it.

9. But now, at last, she can give her children their first meal of the day: a piece of bread and a few spoonfuls of lentil stew.”They should be studying, but we keep shooing them away to find water,” Chaya says. “We have no choice, because who knows if we’ll find enough water tomorrow.”

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