Drought & water woes-I
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.
Farmers with borewells in their fields have come to the rescue of fellow farmers in some parts of Kabini command area in Mysuru district by supplying water to save their standing paddy crop. Water supply from Kabini dam had been stopped owing to poor storage and was being saved for drinking purpose. The initiative of sourcing borewell water to save paddy crop had been taken up in some villages of Nanjangud and T. Narsipur taluks. The farmers claim around 20 percent of paddy crop could be saved this way.
Although droughts are not new in India, we are seeing more of it of late. The paper Seeking viable solutions to water security in Bundelkhand published in the Economic and Political Weekly dated November 5, 2016 informs that people in South Asia have managed the vagaries of seasons for centuries through water-harvesting structures and by managing the available water efficiently through traditional water management practices that utilised water without wastage. Despite certain losses, floods were welcome for they recharged the groundwater and renewed soil fertility.
Currently, out of 141 agricultural development blocks in the state, 102 fall in the ‘dark zone’, where the water level is 200 feet or deeper.
More than 12,000 natural water sources have dried up in Uttarakhand till last decade.
Besides these water bodies, subsidiary sources, which enrich these main sources, have also dried up due to lack of required forestation and increased urbanisation.