Wed, 11 Dec, 2019

Understanding the treasure that is water

Water Hunt, a treasure hunt happening around water bodies of Panaji aims to raise awareness about the need to protect and preserve fresh water sources of Goa

12th May 2019, 03:01 Hrs

JAY JOSHI

Rising temperature and increasing demand for water has today led to pressing issues of water-shortage around the world, India and Goa included. A number of traditional freshwater sources in Goa are drying up or succumbing to pollution. Reports suggest that Talukas such as Sattari, Bicholim, Sanguem, Canacona are facing water shortages already. Even though most of Goan households are presently enabled with access to fresh unpolluted water, current water usage patterns suggest that we might be heading for water scarcity in the years to come. In this light, it is the need of the hour to protect and preserve our freshwater bodies.

In order to raise awareness about the need to preserve freshwater bodies, the independent group Think Panaji, in collaboration with NGO Goa ForGiving is organising an event titled Water Hunt. “This is basically a treasure hunt that will take place around the water bodies in Panaji,” informs Armando Gonsalves, a member of Think Panaji, and founder chairman of Goa ForGiving. “The whole idea behind Water Hunt is to create excitement among the youngsters and bring them closer to the water bodies around Panaji, and inspire them to take care of these freshwater sources.”

While elaborating on the issue, Gonsalves notes that these water bodies have been existing since a long time, hinting that earlier generations understood the importance of protecting water-sources. Then why did this knowledge not percolate to younger generations? The answer might lie in changing culture and priorities, says Gonsalves. “One reason might be the Internet culture and the tendency among young people to expect quick results. Apart from that, lifestyle has changed and cost of living has increased. People are struggling to earn money to put food on the table, and do not have time to look after such issues,” he states.

Gonsalves is confident that putting efforts at the ground level will help spread awareness about the issue. However, while one does reach out to Goans, how can the issue of tourists tempering with Goa’s water bodies be tackled? “That too depends on the will of the Goans,” says Gonsalves. “In this case, there need to be effective punitive measures in place, and the intent to keep Goa clean should be clear. Here, the government needs to improve its own performance. What individuals and NGOs do is all very fine, but the government too has to hold its end of the deal.”

There is no doubt that a number of individuals as well as organisations are making efforts to combat pollution of the State’s resources at all levels, but owing to variou factors such as negligence on part of Goan people or tourists, the work does not often last. Ensuring that good work lasts long entails building civic sense into our culture, avers Gonsalves while speaking on durability of social work. “Our society has an element of false pride. From organisations to individuals, everyone has this sense of false pride. But such matters need to be handled with humility. The real change has to come from the ground, and it will happen not in a day or two, but over a period of time,” says the environmentalist.

All things said and done, water conservation is an important issue with social, economic, as well as environmental bearings. How far will a fun event such as a treasure hunt go in underlining the seriousness of the problem? “The purpose of Water Hunt is to raise awareness among the people. When it comes to bringing change to the society, one cannot bring it alone and instantly. It takes time, and secondly, one has to hope that change will come. Through this event, we are hoping to ignite a sense of excitement and passion among people for the cause of water,” says Gonsalves.

The clues for water hunt have been arranged by historian Sanjeev Sardesai. The event is divided into two categories: two wheelers and four wheelers, and is open for anyone aged 18 and above. Entry fee is Rs 100.

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