This episode by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao highlights the importance of water and its increasing scarcity and on the increasing incidences of conflicts over water
Satyamev Jayate is a serial produced by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao and aired on StarPlus. Each of its 13 episodes take a hard look at one of the various problems facing India today. The program tries to maintain a message of hope by focusing on people and organisations who are making an effort to solve these problems.
The 12th episode of this programme titled 'Every drop counts' focuses on water. The program talks about the importance of water and its increasing scarcity. Recognizing the occurence of conflict over water, it focuses on rainwater harvesting as a solution for our water crises.
The episode begins with a broad overview of water on the planet, and its increasing scarcity. Nilobha Jadhav testifies to the increasing conflicts over water. The importance of our traditional water harvesting structures is explained by Anupam Mishra. Our rivers are being increasingly polluted due to our irresponsible habit of using them as a dumping ground for sewage, corpses and medical waste, among other pollutants. Manoj Misra and Ravi Agarwal both talk about the deleterious impacts of this pollution.
Hanumant Kendre narrates an interesting tale of the various facets of water scarcity and how this may be overcome. Rainwater harvesting is then explained to the viewers as an easily replicable solution for our water crises. Navin Chandra and Shanta Sheela Nair both talk about their experiences, at the household and at the city level.
This episode of an excellent programme has brought into focus each individual's responsibility towards mitigating water scarcity. Admittedly anthropocentric, it has nevertheless brought the conservation of water into the national conservation. However, increasing supply-whether by the individual through rainwater harvesting, or by the nation through dam construction- is not the most effective, and certainly not the only means of alleivating water scarcity.
Demand management at all possible levels is an important strategy towards thwarting water crises, and deserves far more attention than it currently receives. Since it is perceived as 'tightening the belt' or as deprivation, it is not admittedly the favourite strategy of India's citizens or its politicians. Satyamev Jayate has inspired the nation with a clever combination of well-crafted episodes and endorsement by a much-loved celebrity. This might well have been the push that demand management needed.