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2015: A Look Back At Water Conservation

Another year draws to a close. A year that began full of promise, as it does every year. A year that has brought a series of highs and lows. If water and the lack of it were the talking points in the beginning of the year, too much water and the resultant flooding in Chennai, while droughts ravaged Uttarakhand is how we are closing down this year. As if we needed more proof that water is the central need of every life!

Here’s a list of just some of the interesting articles published this year on water conservation. Here’s looking forward to a better and more sustainable year in 2016!

Leave it to the Americans to never give up, instead to hit winners even when the odds are so heavily stacked against! While everyone is talking about the drought in California, how it is just getting worse, the natives are just getting stuck in, setting records for water conservation! “The water board has assigned each community a mandatory conservation target between 4 and 36 percent, depending on how much water residents used last summer, that will be tracked between June and February. Cities that don’t meet these targets face fines or state-imposed restrictions on water use.”
About time too! Considering the majority of the state is a desert, you would think the government of Rajasthan would think long and hard about establishing a robust water conservation programme, but hey, better late than never, right? “”Taking the Maharashtra experience as the backgrounder, the state government has prepared a preliminary report on the guidelines to be adopted for execution of the plan,” Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Minister Surendra Kumar Goyal said while addressing a workshop in Jaipur.”
I first saw this at a Facebook-friend’s urban garden – when she had gone on holiday for a week, she ensured her beloved plants didn’t lack water by setting up a basic drip irrigation system. And here is ‘wick irrigation‘, a marvellous way to make a little bit of water go a long way. “‘Wick Irrigation’ (termed Thiri Nana in Malayalam) reduces the water consumption for agriculture to a great extent. It is specifically designed for terrace cultivation, of mostly vegetables, in grow bags.”
One of the most astounding news stories in this genre from earlier this year was the “Global Water Walk for Peace” held by Rajendra Singh, a.k.a “Waterman of India”, in order to raise the awareness of of the need for conservation of water. “The march, a part of the ongoing CMS Vatavaran Film Festival began in the morning from the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station culminating at the NDMC Convention centre, where the festival is being held.”
Even as Tamil Nadu was in the midst of the wettest November since records began, a pilot project for conserving groundwater was being rolled out in the two districts in Karaikal. Upon the successful completion of the pilot, the project will be extended into the “problem areas of nearby Puducherry”. “Mr. Subburaj said that as of now, there was not serious exploitation of groundwater in Karaikal.
However, there was a strong case for setting up rainwater harvest structures in all the 6,000-odd domestic and commercial complex in the district for long-term benefit on the lines of the Tamil Nadu.”
Saving energy saves water “The United Nations forecasts that 1.8 billion people will live in regions of “absolute water scarcity” by 2025. In India water access is expected to worsen as the overall population is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by 2050…. According to current estimates amongst the regions which are most vulnerable to water scarcity in the next 20 years, India comes number second after Middle East followed by Mexico and the American Southwest.”
After the huge floods that nearly decimated villages in interior Tamil Nadu while many in the North were in desperate need of water, experts in the field got together at Manipal University to talk about conservation. “K. Narayana Shenoy, an expert in water issues and conservation of the water, warned that unless the country and the people adopt water conservation methods and take up the recharge of the groundwater levels seriously, the future would be bleak with an acute shortage of drinking water.”

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