I walked away from the jolly scene and gazed at the pond. It is difficult not to wax lyrical as one stands on the banks of a pond one has created. A pond once dug, costs too much to destroy and too little to maintain. This pond is a new feature on the face of the earth that can endure eternally and survive most man made creations. I fantasized that it was a new mappable entity on earth with a fair chance of immortality.
How much had this cost me? I found myself answering in terms of a new currency: litres of petro-fuel. While the conventional money was my own, I had incurred a debt of 900 litres of diesel. I was confident pointReturn will return this energy equivalent in the coming years. That was the point, was it not, of pointReturn?: to treat nature as a banker you borrowed from. And what are the returns on this investment? Again, a new currency is called for. The first return was a million litres of water in the very first week.
In India of old, it was expected of men of fortune, merchants and princes to express their affluence with public works: inns, wells, ponds and temples. Today 20 million Indians at least, may have gained riches that would exceed those of many princes of yore.
This pond has given me a satisfaction that my money has seldom brought me. I gazed on the million litres arrived from heaven, and felt a very wealthy prince.
As I was about to post this story, I read a report from the First World, the US of A itself. Following is an extract from an article by Edward Helmore in the Guardian
Across much of the south-west, one of the fastest developing regions in the U.S., the change in weather patterns and long-term climate shifts is exacerbated by population pressure — more people demanding more water from dwindling supplies. Since the development of the west was contingent on the construction of great dams and reservoirs, the effects of seeing the water supply shrinking are unsettling.
One result is growing tension between seven States —Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and California — that are all dependent on water allocations from the Colorado river. Last summer saw a substantial reduction in the Colorado’s water flow, which is fed by melting snow from the Rocky mountains. The situation, warns Kevin Trenberth, a hydrologist for the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, “is a situation that is going to cause water wars.”
Earlier this year, Nevada water engineers unveiled plans for a pipeline to serve the Las Vegas metropolis with groundwater that farmers on the Nevada-Utah border claim as their own. With wells already running low, regional farmers fear the gambling mecca will suck the area dry. At the same time, Utah plans to pipe water from deep aquifers to its own fast-developing cities — water that Nevadans claim is theirs under treaty.
Further south, in Texas, the terms of a 1944 U.S.-Mexico water settlement that guarantees water allocations south of the border are being put to the test amid the growing perception that water, not energy, will be the underlying cause of future conflict. In an editorial earlier this year, The New York Times described Mexican water allocations as a waste of resources. The U.S. Government has claimed its southern neighbour owes it water.
Mexico, which has less water per capita than Egypt, regards water as an issue of national security, and has accused the U.S. of irresponsibility by promoting regional growth as if there were no limit to supply. “I think the struggle for water will be the gravest problem of this century,” says Enrique Martinez, Governor of the State of Coahuila, which borders Texas.