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Hastiness Hindering Sustainable Solutions to escalating water stress

Escalating water stress through Sustainable Solutions

Context: Nonprofits and civil society organizations are increasingly gravitating toward quick-fix remedies for India’s escalating water stress, diverting from more sustainable, long-term approaches prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s.

Quick-Fix vs. Sustainable Solutions

Recent initiatives like Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan prioritize rapid solutions such as river widening and straightening to achieve immediate drought mitigation. Conversely, long-term strategies like Watershed-based development, requiring seven to eight years for stabilization and results. Now vie for attention but often get sidelined.

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The Shift in Focus: What’s Behind It?

  1. Techno-Managerial Approach: Organizations now lean toward technical prowess and efficient problem-solving, forsaking critical engagement seen in earlier decades.
  2. Critical Thinking Erosion: The culture of analyzing interventions from political, economic, and ecological perspectives has diminished. And replaced by an emphasis on immediate application rather than holistic comprehension.
  3. The ‘Here and Now’ Mentality: Deliberations on broader concepts and societal implications are devalued, with a prevailing urgency to create tools and applications for instant implementation.
  4. Influence of Social Base: Organizational concerns, framing of issues, and comfort zones are significantly influence by the wide social base, shaping the questions asked and the social sections engaged with.

Navigating Towards Holistic Solutions

To foster sustainable change, it’s imperative to:

  • Diversify Social Representation: Embrace social diversity within organizations, promoting inclusivity across class, caste, gender, ethnicity, and minority groups.
  • Democratize Processes: Encourage democratization within institutions, ensuring fair representation and participation across various societal strata.

Addressing Structural Causes

Recognizing that urban development issues are entwined with historical, economic, and social injustices, it’s essential to address the root causes to pave the way for equitable and enduring solutions.

A Path Ahead

By reinstating critical thinking, diversifying social representation, and acknowledging structural causes, nonprofits and civil society organizations can recalibrate their focus. Thus fostering sustainable solutions to India’s water stress, thereby safeguarding the future.

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