Nothing will survive in the world without me. All forms of life - a
person of pelf and power to a tiny mute worm wherever they are, city,
village or forest - will perish without me. Development will not take
place without me.
The work in factories, farms, harbour, airport and state sector will
come to a standstill without me. In other words the rhythm of life is
set in motion by me. My name is water, the precious gift to all living
beings by Mother Nature. But you people do not recognise my importance,
appreciate my usefulness and show gratitude to me although I help you
all to lead your life smoothly. Do you all recognise my worth? No, not
I live deeply buried in the bowels of the earth and also in rivers,
lakes, canals and ponds as surface water; in extremely cold countries I
live in glaciers and snow and in mountainous ranges as water falls. I
live to sustain life on earth; I live not to benefit myself but to
benefit you and expect nothing from you but one thing - Not to waste me.
The forest thrives well because of me. Animals and birds, insects,
rodents and reptiles use me from ponds and rivers. I have no word of
complaint against animals and birds because they do not misuse me. But
the ungrateful man misuses me in many ways. In the ancient past people
used me directly from ponds, lakes and rivers.
They even dug up the earth to make wells and took water from there
for their consumption. The ancient kings made use of water to construct
viharas and dagobas. King Parakramabahu built the huge Parakrama
Samudra, stored me in it and used me for agricultural purposes. Dagobas
like Mirisawetiya, Thuparamaya, Abhayagiri and Kala-wewa were built by
kings using me.
With the advent of modern technology, people’s living style changed
and development took precedence over pollution. Several factories that
manufacture goods targeting the world market for economic boom divert
the factory pollutants into rivers, polluting the water rendering it
unfit for human consumption.
Today I cannot help but place man in the dock for converting lakes
and rivers into a veritable dumping grounds for toxic waste and
This is high degree pollution of water in the name of development.
Development era brought in its wake a host of misuses of water (me). In
the past housewives fetched water from wells or rivers for their cooking
and bathing purposes. But the modern day housewives have access to me
through pipe-line borne tap system.
They wash the cut pieces of fish or meat or vegetables while all the
time the sink tap is running; they wash cups and sauces, pots and pans
and soap them, while the sink tap is running.
Are these housewives not misusing me? Some of the conversations I
have overheard in houses are really heart breaking. I relate here a few
of their conversations to pinpoint their criminal wastage of water.
“Mummy, the garden tap is left open and water is running from the
hose-pipe for a long time.” A son says. “Oh: Simon, Simon has gone to
market; you close the tap.”
“Emalin, empty the bath-tub, my son has washed his muddy ball and bat
in the tub water and the whole tub is muddy.”
A house mistress tells the servant. “Why do you use the washing
machine to wash one shirt. You can wash it by hand.” A housewife advises
the servant. “No madam, this is loku mahattaya’s shirt. He told me to
wash it in the machine.” “Machan Gune, boil about four buckets of water
tonight.” One man tells another. “Why Cyril?” Gunasena questions the
other. “Why, you don’t know?> Today we’ve to put boiling water to all
the flower plants in Bandara’s garden. Even the vegetable plot.”
“Soma, let out all the water in the cement tank.” A lady tells her
servant. “Why nona, it’s good water.” “No Soma, we can’t take a risk.
That front house man is against us. He could have put some poison into
the water in the tank.” Like this how many people in the country would
have wasted water to take revenge on one another.
You people may have grudges against one another but do not use me to
take revenge on others. In one of the streets a road tap is leaking and
water has been running for days and days, flooding the street. Nobody is
bothered to report the matter to the Water Board. This is criminal
wastage of water. This shows people do not appreciate and value the
usefulness of water. But the United Nations Water Day is commemorated
every year on 22nd March from 1993 by you people.
You people are a great shame because you all misuse me. You organise
events to increase people’s awareness of my importance in environment,
agriculture, health and commerce. I am asking you people, what right you
all have to celebrate United Nations Water Day, when you have not taken
meaningful steps to eliminate the wanton waste or water? Your action is
only an eye-wash. You all know that in many parts of the world fresh
water, both ground water and surface water, is being consumed faster
than it can be replaced.
What does it mean? This means in the near future countries will face
water shortage. It is no use having eye-wash celebration for United
Nations Water Day; instead you take meaningful steps to minimise the use
of water and eliminate the wastage. Why can’t you use kitchen waste
water to water the plants? If the bath-tub water is polluted why can’t
you use it for garden and bathroom washing? When you are in the bath why
can’t you soap yourself after closing the running tap? Why can’t you
attend to your leaking taps immediately? Why can’t you water your plants
every other day instead of every day?
Luckily for you all, mother nature reacts favourably to the people in
spite of your reckless attitude shown to water. The polluted bath-tub
water that you send down the drain;’ the kitchen refuse water and the
sewage water that settle in the drain, and the wanton waste of precious
water you let down the drain are absorbed by sunlight and go up as water
vapour; there I form into dense clouds and come down as rain to nourish
mother earth and replenish the depletive ponds, lakes and rivers. This
is nature’s continuous cyclic process.
In other words I am re-born countless number of times to the earth.
Though I do a meritorious act to sustain life, I cannot attain Nibbana,
the philosophy preached by the Buddha. When will I attain Nibbana?
According to the Islamic teaching on the day when the sky splits
asunder, when the sun ceases to rise and when all the oceans dry, that
is the day I will not be born again. On that day I will attain Nibbana.