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Santhigiri Karuna Shuddha Jalam (rainwater harvesting): An exemplary model to resolve water scarcity

“Manju”

Not even a drop of water should be used unnecessarily. Water is God’s blessing. How you spend every drop is important. Water is life. It was with shock that we saw the news of Bengaluru city scrambling for drinking water. It is a scary sight to see people leaving the city itself because of the unavailability of water. Such experiences are not far from us. It has been said that if there is another world war, it will be over the drinking water. Countries including India are facing severe water shortages.

Water resources play a major role in maintaining the balance of the environment. Rivers, streams, and ponds are the perennial springs of the earth. We must protect the water sources that are equally comforting to all living beings including humans. This is where Santhigiri’s ‘Karuna Suddha Jalam’ becomes a model. Ashram founder Navajyothi Sri  Karunakara Guru asked his disciples to prepare water reservoirs at Santhigiri, foreseeing the impending water scarcity. Santhigiri Hill was an area of severe water scarcity. Realizing that there would be a severe drought in the coming years, the Guru suggested the construction of rainwater reservoirs in the ashram premises to take advantage of groundwater recharge. 12 rain pits were built to ensure that there is always plenty of water. Along with this, the Guru encouraged agriculture and the conservation of trees. Abandoned quarries and ponds were cleaned. Then the water conservation process started.

Along with this, the ashram also undertook the construction of the first rainwater harvesting project to meet the demand for clean water. As per Guru’s instructions, the unused quarry in front of the ashram was converted into a rainwater harvesting reservoir with a capacity of fifty lakh liters. This project not only ended the water shortage in the ashram but also helped in recharging the groundwater level in the surrounding areas. The water resource management practices at Santhigiri Ashram inspired community participation in natural resource management in the state.

Santhigiri Water Conservation focuses on creating a new water usage culture for irrigation and drinking water supply at the local level by ensuring the upgrading and purification of existing water sources to increase water availability. It is necessary to inculcate a new culture of water conservation and utilization in the people and ensure water security and environmental sustainability for future generations. Emphasis is also placed on the upgrading, purification, utilization, and sustainable management of existing water resources.
In recent days, we have seen that Santhimahima, Brahmachari Sangham, and VSNK cleaned the water bodies in Santhigiri. Such activities are carried out under the leadership of the ashram to make available water even in severe summer. And this will continue in the days to come as a model.

Even Kerala is in the grip of drought despite having abundant water resources. Protecting water and water resources is the responsibility of everyone on earth. We should not insist that water conservation only occurs when there is a severe water shortage. Water resources are never permanent. All of these will perish over time if not preserved with care. Only if we become aware of the value of water in the world, future existence on this earth will be possible.

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