When it comes to water conservation, in the UK we are pretty spoilt. Yes, the threat of drought early in 2012 was followed by floods and the wettest summer in recorded time and yes, occasionally we have to contend with burst pipes but in general we expect that when we turn on our taps clean water will flow.
This doesn’t mean that we should be complacent and water conservation is very much on the eco agenda. But shortening our shower time by a few minutes, using low volume flushes in our loos or making sure we deal with dripping taps is not a great hardship. But whilst in the UK we luxuriate in clean water, other areas in the world are not as fortunate.
Working in Uttar Pradesh and surrounding districts, the Neer Foundation aims to engage with a wide range of stakeholders in promoting the “management and protection of the environment and society.” Although the Neer Foundation’s remit encompasses many areas such as agriculture, human rights and health, it is also very much involved in promoting awareness of water quality, water conservation and hygiene.
As part of its remit, the Neer Foundation has taken on the responsibility of co-ordinating World Water Monitoring Day throughout India. Using school students, civil servants and local people as water monitors the foundation has gradually increased its reach until in 2011 more than 10,000 people took part in the project.
Special testing kits help participants to record water quality including dissolved oxygen, water clarity, temperature and acidity. The tests are carried out on a variety of waters including rivers, wells, village pumps and ponds. Some of the results have resulted in an urgent call to action with a number of rivers having been identified as containing high levels of toxic pollutants amid virtually dead waters.
The Neer Foundation believes that “clean water is everyone’s right and it is everyone’s responsibility. It is up to us all, the citizens of the world, and the users of water, to become involved in the protection and sustainability of the world’s waters.” By involving so many in the water monitoring project the Foundation not only promotes awareness, it helps to teach the students about the world around them and encourages people to take a stake in their own environment. This is why the Neer Foundation was chosen to receive a Green Apple Award.