After the recurrent spells of weak monsoons, a big part of the country’s population, are affected by a severe drought obliging India to walk towards a water-stressed future. The drought has dried up wells and other water reservoirs already stressed by overuse resulting into crop failure to a reasonable extent of more than 60 per cent. The current water management systems particularly in rural areas are poorly equipped to deal with the issue in significant part because they do not promote distributed water collection, water conservation, and water reuse. Providentially, a combination of often forgotten traditional water practices and more recent innovations in water use and management can help resolve this growing water crisis. These include rainwater capture, water recycling and reuse, and innovative technologies to purify water. India’s history is witness to how well-planned cities of our ancient civilization were equipped with outstanding systems of water harvesting and drainage. These ancient structures synergized with well validated water practices were the strong support systems during the times when the modern infrastructural marvels did not exist, but they were more than efficient in managing the water resources even at the time. Today the traditional water practices and ancient but ignored water sources of the country are yearning to discharge the ancient traditions to revive the glorious history of their past for the dire need of the hour. If water strategists aim to spread the message of water conservation to the common people and want to ensure that every drop of water is conserved, then the proven and scientifically validated Indian traditional water culture will have to be revived. Coincidently, customary water bodies have always been subject of reverence for Indians, reviving these traditional water bodies by involving locals could be a strategy that every region needs to adopt. Stepping up these revival options will indispensably require change in legal and regulatory framework but will perceptibly offer policy makers a better chance to meet present demands and future needs in an increasingly water-constrained India.
Part of the book: Environmental Management