When I was young, my mother and I would have to walk all the way down the village to get water in the river in the early morning and every evening. That was the only water source for the whole village, so everyone took good care of the river. My mom would tell me not to go near the river, not to play near the head of the river, not to do this and that. I didn’t understand why my mother was telling me not to do this and that beside the river, and I never liked the way how we got water.
When I grew older, I went to study in a big city where every house had a well within the house compound. The city people could get unlimited water whenever they wanted. At first, I was so happy with my city life. I didn’t have to wait in a line to get water and have a shower and I could play with water all day long. I didn’t appreciate the value of water the time when I got water freely but I noticed that something was missing. I started missing my village because I got to meet with all the people from the village. Everyone was there. We shared our daily live story with each other and we all took care of the water together and we valued our water. There were some rich houses where water was delivered to their houses, but they still wanted to go the river to get water. That was the beauty of the culture aspect. It made people have closed relationship with each other. After hearing different knowledge and ideas on water managing and learning from Singapore ways of overcoming from the challenges of water, it makes me realize that life goes on and people have to change at some points.
The forum gave me a lot of inspirations and information on managing the water but some methods will be hard for me to implement to my county culture. I am trying to find balance between culture and water sustainability. I think the villagers’ ways of protecting the water is good but it is not going to be sustainable. The old ways of protecting water combined with new technology and innovations could bring a solution for sustainable water management. As it is easier said than done, there are still a lot of challenges and obstacles ahead of me but I am not worried because I know that I am not alone in this. Young Water Leader Summit sharpened my skills, boosted my knowledge and linked me up with young leaders from all over the world.
Everyone knows how important the water is but not everyone actually cares about water. As young leaders, we need to make sure that young people around us are aware of the water issues. Always remember “A waterfall begins from only one drop of water”.
By Nang Yin Yin Win Nwe (aka) Wannlee
Kaw Dai Organization