Water conservation by various means is now an absolute necessity
Water is a cross cutting element of sustainable development and for poverty eradication. It is key to food, energy and health security, and therefore it is not surprising that water is covered under many Sustainable Development Goals. There is enough water in the world, but many people do not have access to it due to problems of water management. Sanitation remains a major issue. Further, demography, pollution and urbanization are putting additional challenges on management of water. I believe that political will is extremely essential for water governance, finance and education. The key to promote sustainable water management and to explore synergies with other water related aspects of the SDGs calls for cooperation at all levels across all sectors and stakeholders including the sharing of knowledge, experiences, innovations and solutions.
Water, forests, land and animals are invaluable gifts from God, and development could be ensured only if these were preserved. We have to adopt a scientific approach in the planning and conservation of water in order to ensure a balance.
We must enhance our efforts to conserve nature including plantation to ensure availability of water. We also have to work to convert waste into wealth with the help of technology. We can revive our rivers by using technology. A river is alive only when it flows from one source to other.
Cleaning the Ganga is our top priority while the next priority is to maintain flow in the river through Aviral Ganga. We are also working for cleaning the ghats along the river besides cleaning the tributaries of Ganga and seasonal nullahs. Ganga is a symbol of our religious life, heritage and culture. We are doing our best to achieve 100 percent cleaning of the holy river. Right now, the project is focusing on liquid waste management to be followed by solid waste management to prevent the flow of garbage into the river.
For identifying drains directly flowing into the river, we have taken services of Google for identifying such nullahas (drains) and one such drain is Sisamau nullah in Kanpur which people know even in London.
The objective of Ganga cleaning is conversion of waste into wealth and supplying recycled water to urban local bodies, thermal power plants of NTPC and methane gas to Indian Oil Corporation produced from bio digesters.
The surplus water of Indravati (in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district), which meets Godavari, will be taken to Kaleshwaram dam. From there it will be transferred to two other dams and again from there it will be pumped to the tail end of Cauvery.
The backwater of Polavaram dam will be channelled into Krishna river, from there to Pennar river (in Karnataka) and again from there to Cauvery. So, we will be able to nearly solve the water problems of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
Around 3,000 tmc ft of the Godavari’s water flows into the sea. Socio-economic changes can be attained even if 1,000 tmc ft of it is held and transferred to the water-scarce region. Initially 300 tmc ft water would be transferred from the Godavari to the Polavaram project through Nagarjuna Sagar dam and to River Krishna. After that water will be conveyed to Somasila dam (in Andhra Pradesh) on the Pennar and from there it will be taken to the Grand Anicut (in Tamil Nadu) on River Cauvery.
We should also focus on pilot desalination plant (to be installed on scrap ships) in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin to gain potable water at Rs 5 paise per litre. It will be a cost-effective, technology-based intervention, which will save water while fulfilling needs. We need to conserve water wherever possible with the help of the government and people.
The water problem can we solved if we learn to conserve and use the water available with us. The need of river connectivity, construction of Barrages, Dams, Rubber dams and Bandhas, drip and piped irrigation in the country and the need for water circuits in the country on the lines of power circuits for better water conservation.
Enhancing drip and pipe irrigation will reduce wastage of water and will be cost effective for farmers. River connectivity programme can reduce water crisis in critical areas like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra. The government has planned 30 river linking programmes.
We need to study advanced technologies and procedures like cloud bursting and water accounting being used in other parts of the world, and adopt those that are feasible for our country.
A lot of people and organisations are doing very good work in this field, and we need to network them on a single platform. Many departments are doing the same kind of work to achieve the same objective, but there is a lack of proper coordination and information sharing among them. In my suggestion a website should be created for sharing available resources, information and best practices available in different parts of the country.
We are taking steps for development and management of water resources in sustainable manner through improved water assessment, equitable resource allocation, improved efficiency, pollution abatement, conservation and water harvesting and providing safe sanitation.
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