Drought & water woes-I
You may be a hyperconscious consumer, only buying foodstuff that is organic and fair trade, or you may be one of those who embraced vegitarianism because it is good for the environment. But for all this effort to do the right thing for the planet, it is more than likely that more than one food item in your shopping cart is responsible for depleting groundwater in parts of the world faster than it can be replenished.
India could save water and reduce planet-warming emissions if people added more vegetables and fruits like melon, oranges and papaya to their diet while reducing wheat and poultry, researchers said on Wednesday. India’s population is forecast to rise to 1.6 billion by 2050, and to ensure there is enough available freshwater, water use will have to be cut by a third, according to a study published by The Lancet Planetary Health journal.
The increasing use of groundwater for irrigation poses a major threat to global food security and could lead to unaffordable prices of staple foods, warns a new international study. From 2000 to 2010, the amount of non-renewable groundwater used for irrigation increased by a quarter, according to the study published in Nature on March 30. During the same period China had doubled its groundwater use.
Countries such as Pakistan, Iran and India, which use the most groundwater to grow food, are already suffering from water scarcity.
Farmers around the world are using an unsustainable amount of well water to irrigate their crops – which could lead to an uptick in food prices as that water runs low, international researchers warned Wednesday. Farmers are increasing their use of groundwater — water naturally stored underground — to grow staple crops such as rice, wheat and cotton, the scientists said.
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.