Water, Ganges and Children : A Bond that requires ‘WATERING’
Life starts with water. In fact, a child’s first exposure begins with water. It is being rightly quoted by the former late president Mikhail SergeyevichGorvachev of Soviet Union that water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions. Since the very birth of civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it, when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing and dance about it. People fight over it and all people, everywhere and every day need it. It is used for drinking, cleaning, agriculture, transportation, industry, recreation, animal husbandry and producing electricity for domestic, industrial and commercial use. The importance of water cannot be doubted. All living things must have water to survive. Without water, body stops working properly, since water makes up more than half of our body weight. Our survival is only for few days without water. Water is in blood, in lymph - a fluid that is part of our immune system fighting illness. Each cell in the body depends on water to function normally.
Having said the use and importance of water, equally important is to know the scarcity and stress at present. The demand for water is increasing irrespective of sectors viz. agriculture, industries, domestic, livestock, tourism, etc. At the same time, the availability and distribution is highly erratic and unpredictable. Particularly, in Indian subcontinent, irrespective of high rainfall, the scarcity and water stress is rampant and vivid. Few reasons that may be attributed are the erratic monsoon when entire rainfall pours down in four monsoon months (June to September), no or poor infrastructure for storage, imprudent use of water with poor awareness and management, etc.
The Ganga riveris a trans boundary river emerging from Gaumukh in Himalayas and runs till Gangasagar in the Bay of Bengal. It has a special place in the ethos of people of India, and treated as Mother Ganga. It is the lifeline to about 500 million people living in its basin. It is the longest river in India (about 2500 km), with number of tributaries like Yamuna, Ramganga, and Ghagra etc. It has two distributaries Padma and Bhagirathi-Hooghly. It is a perennial in nature and water is available throughout the year. The Ganga river basin is one of the most fertile flood plains of the world, with significant agriculture activities, known as granary of India.
Amongst many reasons of water stress, the later one is of high significant to raise awareness of water among the users, especially the children. Targeting grown-up and adults is alright, but if the interventions are made involving children, through outreach activities, provision of display of awareness measures on water in websites (kids-corner), news papers, etc. the impact will be high. Children are the backbone of a nation and development of any nation depends on the well-being of its child population. India has the second largest child population in the World. Numbering over 2.2 billion world-wide and 263.9 million in India (Census, 2011), they represent boundless potential.
India is a big country with many religious myth and facts on water. Ganga river, personified as a goddess known as Ganga, being the most sacred of all the rivers flowing in India, its essence and importance should reach all especially the children. The Kids-Corner in the portal is developed with an aim to put all the Ganga related information in simple language available from different sources, viz. video clips, paintings, articles, etc., so that children have all the information on Gangaon a single platform.The Kids-corner in the ‘Ganga Portal’ is also an attempt to make aware the children regarding conservation of water, water related tips, water knowledge, means to save water, and above all theimportance of water.