Managing water resources
We just can’t live without water!
CONCERN BY ER. SRS MADNI
God Almighty has given us life and two important gifts: air and water which sustain life. All civilizations have emerged from the river banks. In return the man is doing everything to pollute and encroach upon water resources and also the air by indiscriminate use of hydrocarbons. The underdeveloped and developing countries are the target of the indiscriminate green house gases produced by the developed countries resulting in the global warming and environmental disaster. The water resources in the form of glaciers are fast depleting.
Whereas the quantum of water is static, its availability is governed by population which is geometrically increasing especially in some African and Asian countries. Against the global surface water availability of 7000 cm (cubic meter)/capita/year, India has only 2000 cm which is estimated to get further reduced to 1500 cm by 2050 when the population is expected to be150 crores. India has 16 to17 percent of the world population with just 4 percent of water resources. Therefore, not only the growth in population has to be controlled but also precious water preserved for the posterity by its optimal usage.
The distribution of surface water in India is erratic. We can experience simultaneous flood and drought. Huge areas especially in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orrisa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh are rain-fed and whenever there is a crop failure, there are suicides by the farmers being unable to repay the farm loans. North-South water corridor conceived in 60’s which would remove the dependence on rains may take decades to materialize. Water disputes between the states are on the increase and even the Government of India has not been able to settle the issue and hence the judicial intervention. These disputes may lead to water wars in near future, if the problem is not addressed seriously now at all levels. Indus Water Treaty (ITW) signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 has become an irritant between the two countries and the World Bank has to intervene every now and then to sort out the differences. The treaty has immensely benefited the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajhastan and Delhi in power, agriculture, drinking water and industry. The J&K State is the only loser as it has not been able to utilize the water resources of its three rivers-Cinab, Jhelum and Indus due to restrictions imposed in the treaty.
In absence of adequate surface water availability, the precious treasure lying underground in the form of ground water has to be relied upon for all the three main uses i.e. drinking, agriculture and industry. The natural recharge has been badly disturbed by us in the catchments areas by the indiscriminate exploitation of forests, thus reducing the absorption capacity and hence the ground water recharge. The natural water bodies and the ponds constructed by our wise ancestors have almost vanished. The wetlands which act as flood basins, bird sanctuaries and water bodies are being converted into housing colonies.
The maximum use of ground water is in agriculture where there is no scope of recycling. The agriculture scientists have to address this issue and devise such crops which not only have reduced gestation period but also reduced water requirement. Presently the farmer is interested in paddy for its better returns but if he is assured of equal returns in alternative crops, he will be too happy to adopt the same. The Government can play a role here by including food grains from such crops in the public distribution system. Water has to be treated as an economic source and effort made for more income per drop of water.
Public awareness that the water is precious and if not preserved and taken care of will endanger the mankind is equally important. This role can be played by print and electronic media, social scientists, and teachers. Voluntary participation of stakeholders for integrated approach in water conservation for improving water security system and increasing agriculture production has to be ensured.
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Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 4 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 5 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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