Water is a limited resource that is essential for life. Human activities have been exercising considerable pressure on this resource. The unsustainable use of water and the need to improve its management are among the largest global concerns of our time. Indicators are fundamental to monitoring progress towards, and trends in, water sustainability. Despite the widespread recognition of the relevance of indicators to water sustainability worldwide, significant challenges remain. Improved knowledge, applied research and innovation around this subject are necessary to promote the transition towards sustainable water use and management. This demands also points to the need to develop indicators in a participatory way, with the active engagement of both scientists and stakeholders.
Water supply in India has two principal sources, namely water from rivers and groundwater. However, the rivers are shrinking because of pollution and industrialization while the population keeps growing, pushing us towards an enormous water deficit. India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history. Reports suggest that the underground water of Delhi and Bangalore will run out by the mid of this year. However, one man has taken it upon himself to do something about it. Ramveer Tanwar, from Dadha village in Greater Noida, was moved by the plight of the lakes. He started the cleaning and rejuvenation process of the lakes. Mr. Tanwar, who worked as an engineer in an MNC, left his job, and has been reviving lakes and ponds since 2014. Single handed, through his efforts, brought 10 ponds in the city of greater Noida to life again. Not only Greater Noida, he has worked for Pond’s and lakes revival in many other cities of India. In an interview with the Logical Indian, he said:
“there are two cities in Gautam Buddha Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh —Noida and Greater Noida. There were more than 200 lakes in Noida and right now there are officially absolutely no lakes in the city. The situation in Greater Noida is slightly better as the lakes here have not gone obsolete, but the condition is awful”.
The technique used by Tanwar is quite simple and bit technical, which doesn’t even require much money. The water bodies which served as public attractions once, are now being used as dumping grounds. Mr. Ramveer observed that since a lot of plastic was dumped directly into these lakes, the process of underground water recharging was getting hampered. They then devised a simple double filtration system, so that any water entering the lakes would have to pass through a mesh of wooden planks, and then a mesh of grass. The mesh of wooden planks helped to stop bigger items like plastic bottles, and the subsequent mesh than further filters the incoming water at next stage. Many of the villagers are coming forward, some joined hands to do the hard labor and some provided Mr. Tanwar with helpful tools and equipment in this process of cleaning and reviving ponds and lakes.
He started working on this project, when he was in college itself. He organized Jal Chaupal, a platform to talk about water related issues in 2014, which later became popular in many villages in the area. Ramveer gave to all a real time instances and made them take pledges regarding the rejuvenation, and the restoration of the water bodies. The villager would come up to him and share their agony with him about how once they used to get under groundwater only by digging 5 to 10 feet, but now they are forced to dig up to 150 feet to have that groundwater.
The project agenda started from just one village which now covers about 50 villages in Uttar Pradesh itself. Moreover, the UP Govt. has made groups called the “BHUJAL SENA” (Groundwater Army) in every district. Ramveer was appointed as the coordinator of his district. He has been awarded with several awards like Rashtriya Swayamsidh Samaan, Rex Karamveer Chakra Award, Shining World Protection Award for his commendable works in the field of water conservation. Ramveer Tanwar and his helping team has also initiated an online campaign named ‘#selfiewithpond’ to motivate youth and others to keep ponds and lakes clean and preserved. He also tried connecting villagers emotionally to their water reservoirs. He is a active trainee participant and consultant to many prestigious governmental bodies like Central water commission. He has been a speaker to many national and international forums like TED x and an eminent personality interviewed by national and international media like Rajya Sabha TV. His several videos over water conservation are viral on many social media platforms having more than millions of likes and viewers. He is a face of an environment brigadier working in the field of water conservation. He is not less than a water-man of India Mr. Rajendra Singh. He is an inspiring and unconventional personality, who has given an important practical lesson of conservation that everyone should learn.