On a recent trip to India, I saw something that really made me wonder a lot of things. It was raining heavily and I heard several people complaining about water shortage. They had no tap water for about 20 hours of the day. The water supply was cut off most of the day barring a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening.
And while this water shortage went on, most of the youth were busy dancing on the street for Ganapati.
Our pain-and-effort vector seems to be off. Most of the pain of people is related to basic things like food and water and electricity. But most of the time spent by the very people suffering from those problems is not in activities related to solving that problem. These people spend most of their time celebrating, watching TV, playing cricket. Nothing wrong with enjoying life. But if people spent some time working on the basic problems, finding creative and innovative solutions, they would have even more time to enjoy.
What is the root of this pain-response dissonance? Why our efforts are not focused where our biggest pain comes from? Why everyone is working on superficial increase in life standard, like increased salary or car or TV, but not much community action is seen on critical issue like resource productivity? Why people can’t come together and build rainwater harvesting system?
If people came together and built a rainwater harvesting system they could significantly lighten the water shortage. Yes, that system would work only in rainy season. But it would have cascading benefits. Rainwater harvesting will reduce pumping from the dams in the rainy season, thus making the water in dams last longer in summer. Also if lots of rainwater is properly harvested, it would ease the flooding situation in monsoon.