Human beings are eternally dependent on water for survival. It’s a natural law of life and over time water has become the core natural source that will decisively define the destiny and quality of human life. The preciousness of Water cannot be underplayed. Water is at the center of what will constitute the balance of power in human relationships. The question is not so much the quantity of water, but the quality of water and whether it is safe for human use. It is true that natural water sources are decreasing rapidly and with increasing human practices that are not respectful and sensitive to natural resources, the issues of poor sanitation and water pollution has come to pose enormous problems around the issue of water. 

Experts and analyst have time again reminded us that the next major conflict with global implications will be fought over water. The fact remains that water has been the cause of many conflicts in the course of human history. Most of these conflicts were confined to local and regional levels. However with growing population, decreasing natural water sources and increasing value attached to water, the potential for a major conflict over water is very real and immediate. The issue here is not just the lack of safe drinking water, but the water borne diseases that has caused the death of many lives. For instance at least 1.8 million people die world wide from diarrhea every year. 

It is in the backdrop of this very compelling global situation that we must locate the Naga experience with water. Nagas in general usually take pride in the freshness and purity of our water from the hills. We often exclaim the sweetness of our water and declare that it is a God given gift, not be found anywhere else. However, are we taking good care of it? Do we treat it with respect and are we taking steps to ensure that the water sources are protected against pollution. Our practices and habits will show that often we take for granted our dependence on water, and we do not adequately realize how fortunate we are to have access to natural water sources.

Yes, it is true that in many of our Naga towns and villages there is an acute shortage of water supply to people’s homes. In these areas the value of water is well appreciated because this precious necessity is being purchased at very high rates, causing some individuals to benefit from this situation. This shortage is however not necessarily because of the absence of water source. Water sources are not being tapped and managed in a way that would benefit a village or a town. Our method of water distribution lacks strategic planning and the technology used is very rudimentary and lacks the sophistication needed to adequately meet the growing demands of an ever increasing human population.   

It is not just the aspect of sanitation and affective tapping, management and distribution of water that is required. More fundamentally is the need for Nagas to protect our natural water sources. This also means the need to prevent rampant deforestation and destruction of our ecology. Proactive steps must be initiated to ensure the effective protection of the environment so that natural water sources are sustained. We need to collectively find solutions to these pressing issues of water. Nagas must recognize that the northeast region now has maximum natural water sources in the Indian sub-continent. While the center is trying to harness water sources and its energy in this region to be exported to the sub-continent, people must ensure that it is not at the cost of the survival of the northeast.