Siruthuli – A Drop of Effort to Heal the World
If there is a magic in this world, it is contained in water. We drink it, bathe in it, fish in it, grow our crops with it, and generate power from it. It covers two-thirds of the surface of the earth and comprises 75 percent of the human body. And yet, the future of the world’s most basic resource is changing in unprecedented ways. Immigration, population growth, and climate change are affecting the way we all think about our relationship with the world’s water supply.
And by 2050, when the world’s population is expected to peak at about 9.4 billion people, it is conceivable that water could become one of the scarcest and most valuable commodities in the world.
Despite this, there is already enough water on the planet to serve humanity’s needs. In fact, there are 2 trillion liters of fresh water for every man, woman and child on Earth. And each of us only needs less than three liters a day. Therefore, what we have is not a shortage of fresh water. What we have is a management problem, one that requires us all to get smarter about how water is used; individuals, governments, and industry.
We had it in plenty! Enough and more to have our daily activities done in its bounty, to have a gala of events to rejoice its abundance and even to flourish a civilization. But today, we are afraid, we will lose it. We think twice before taking an extra cup. Its Water-the precious elixir of life! We are not sure, whether we will have this precious resource available for our children. We wonder whether our children will be able to see the scenic beauty of a lake, or to enjoy a decent rain.
The cultural heritage of India, owes a lot to the numerous rivers that forms the vein of the country. These rivers decide the destiny of a region, be it the water-starved Rajasthan or the often-flooded West Bengal. India must be the only land, where people walk miles to fetch water, while some others travel miles to escape the catastrophic lashes of heavy rains. Rivers, the cradles of civilization, carve the beautiful history of Mystic India.
Cradled in the laps of Mother Noyyal, rose the city of Coimbatore. Being originated in the Vellingiri Hills of Coimbatore, Noyyal spends her childhood and youth in Coimbatore. Of her 160 km long life, she spreads her hands through Coimbatore, Karur, Erode and Tirupur. The great Noyyal Valley civilization flourished on its bank and even had trade links with Romans. The name “Noyyal” stood for the village where she merges with Cauvery and continue her journey together. During the period of Chola kings, they found that Noyyal gets flooded often in its downstream near Noyyal Village. Their realization about this gift of Mother Nature, led to the construction of tanks and system canals in the course of Noyyal. They created a garland of lakes and anicuts along its course, thus helping the underground water of this region to prosper. About 20000 acres of agricultural lands were directly irrigated through the canal and system tanks of River Noyyal.
Civilizations flourished and vanished, but human greed remains. Noyyal is shrinking to death, thanks to the over-exploitation and pollution. Agriculture helped recharge the ground water and thus, the level of underground water was stable. But, the establishment of industries clubbed with population growth and urbanization, resulted in depletion of ground water beyond economical pumping state. The UNDP studies in 1980s, declared Coimbatore drought-prone, with the fastest depletion of ground water level in the whole world. Being on the death-bed, Mother Noyyal could only watch helplessly.
The year 2003 witnessed Coimbatore in its worst, with ground water table levels as low as 150 feet and the green cover of Mother Nature getting removed massively. Even drinking water started to become a most demanded commodity. The land of River Noyyal, started scorching in heat and dust. Coimbatore became a hot plate, emanating heat with little water and green cover to support. People were reminded of the warning – a third world war for water?! Citizens’ conscious rose; their needs roped them in to do something for their city.
Thus was born Siruthuli to address the water and environmental problems of this region. “Siruthuli”, meaning ‘a tiny drop’ was formed as a Trust by a few conscientious corporate business houses of Coimbatore – Bannari Amman Group of Companies, Pricol Ltd., LMW Group of Companies, ELGI Group of Companies and Sri Sankara Eye Society in the month of June 2003. These Corporates united to solve the common water and environmental problems in this region, in addition to their respective CSR activities.
Nevertheless to say, Siruthuli is today a people’s movement as a result of enthusiastic participation of people from all walks of life. Siruthuli has accomplished a lot in a short span of 7 years through its core objectives of
1. Water Resources Management
3. Waste Management
4. Awareness Programmes