Rivers have always been the bedrock of our civilization and the lifelines of India. But in just one generation, most of our rivers have suffered dangerous levels of depletion. For a nation with 1.3 billion people, we cannot turn a blind eye to this grave crisis of our times.
OUR DYING RIVERS India has essentially grown along the banks of major rivers. Our ancient civilizations were born along the waters, and they perished when the rivers shifted course. This is a culture that never saw rivers and water as a commodity. We realized that this was a fundamental building block of life.
For many millennia, we maintained the sanctity of this relationship. But in the last few decades, due to the pressures of population and development, our perennial rivers are becoming seasonal. Many of the smaller rivers have already vanished. The Ganga and Indus are two of the world’s most endangered rivers, according to WWF. The Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri do not reach the sea four months of the year. Water levels in almost every major river have declined severely.
Our wellbeing and the nation’s wellbeing are intimately connected to the wellbeing of our rivers. If we do not act now to reverse the serious decline of these lifelines, the next generation will pay a very heavy price.
Isha Foundation is proposing a comprehensive river rejuvenation plan to reverse this decline and revive our rivers.
SAVING OUR RIVERS
Most solutions offered so far only talk about how to exploit our diminishing water supply. But what is needed is a comprehensive plan that will ensure rivers flow throughout the year.
With over a decade of experience in matters related to the environment and sustainability, Isha Foundation offers a core solution to stabilize and revitalize our rivers. It involves creating and maintaining tree cover for a minimum of one kilometer on either side of the entire river length and half a kilometer for tributaries. The benefits of tree planting have been indisputably demonstrated by Project GreenHands, Isha’s award-winning initiative and one of Asia’s largest environmental movements.
Native forest trees would be planted in government-owned land along riverbanks. Organic fruit tree cultivation would be taken up on private farmers’ lands. This solution ensures that rivers are restored while also enhancing famers’ livelihood by more than doubling their income in five years. The availability of fruit also improves nutritional intake among people.
The benefits of this simple yet highly effective solution are corroborated by many scientific studies. Trees help keep rivers perennial, mitigate floods and drought, increase precipitation, mitigate climate change and prevent soil erosion.
The time to act is now! Join the movement to save our rivers. Find out how…