Drought & water woes-I
Most human activities that use water produce wastewater. As the overall demand for water grows, the quantity of wastewater produced and its overall pollution load are continuously increasing worldwide. Although wastewater is a critical component of the water management cycle, water after it has been used is all too often seen as a burden to be disposed of or a nuisance to be ignored.
The results of this neglect are now obvious. The immediate impacts, including the degradation of aquatic ecosystems and waterborne illness from contaminated freshwater supplies, have far-reaching implications on the well-being of communities and peoples’ livelihoods. Continued failure to address wastewater as a major social and environmental problem would compromise other efforts towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Already facing increasing river salinity due to climate change, parts of coastal Bangladesh could become zones of poverty with limited freshwater available in rivers.
It has been established by now that coastal Bangladesh is being seriously affected by climate change. It is now imperative to determine the exact ways in which it is being affected and to what extent, so that specific plans to adapt to the changes can be carried out.
With rising population, an expanding middle class, changing lifestyles and climate change putting a strain on resource availability, achieving food, energy and water security is becoming a prime concern.
By 2050, India is expected to be the world’s most populous country with 1.7 billion people, and the world’s second largest economy with a GDP of $42 trillion (in PPP terms). It is estimated that India would require to increase its annual food production by 30 per cent, to 333 million tonnes. In addition, more than 880 GW of new power generation capacity would be required by 2040.
Judicious use of wastewater to grow crops will help solve water scarcity in the agriculture sector. At a time when we need to produce more food to feed an ever-increasing population, wastewater can be used by farmers either directly through irrigation, and indirectly by recharging aquifers.
Using wastewater in the backdrop of water scarcity due to climate change formed the basis of talks in Berlin during the annual Global Forum for Food and Agriculture.
Water management should be at the heart of all smart city planning. While there is a lot of emphasis on transportation and infrastructure development, water management remains limited to treatment of waste water, quality monitoring, and smart metering in the government’s smart cities strategy.
No clear plans have emerged on how smart cities are to be linked with their water catchments to ensure sustainable provision of water. More clarity is also needed on wastewater treatment, both domestic and industrial.
A pair of jeans takes more than 10,000 litres of water to be washed and maintained, while 26.4 litres of water is used every minute in the shower. Using these startling statistics, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is making people aware of the amount of water used and wasted, directly and indirectly, every day.
WWF-India had recently launched a water footprint project in Moradabad with the help of district administration. On the basis of the response it received, the project is set to be introduced in Bareilly soon.
Aplonia Marutsvaka looks triumphant as she shows off one of her three bags of gleaming white maize. She harvested the grain in the midst of a drought and sapping heat that charred many other types of crop.
The secret of her successful harvest is simple: A type of maize seed that has been bred to tolerate high temperatures.
"It has never been this hot, but (this) variety of maize performs well in the heat," said the 62-year-old Marutsvaka. "I am preparing my maize field to plant it again."
Water is vital to human existence — and a big concern for policymakers, business leaders, and economists is its heightened scarcity.
If water is neglected by societies and governments, then the odds are they will eventually collapse. Without water, businesses ranging from family farms to major corporations face multiple problems, including higher costs and long-term viability.
A LESSON from the events over the last few months over sharing of Cauvery waters show that one time, prescriptive, top-down solutions — either by the tribunal or the Supreme Court — may not resolve the conflict. For a socially and environmentally just solution, we need to move to an adaptive management approach and an alternative set of principles of sharing, sound science and a participatory processes with non-state actors. This was the overwhelming feeling of academics and civil society activists from of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, who met recently in Bengaluru to discuss the issue.