By Our Correspondent
Bhubaneswar, May 25: ‘Water, water, everywhere, not a drop to drink.” This adage could become true for India in less than two decades largely due to dwindling fresh water reserves, inefficient use of water for irrigation, defective water transportation system, growing pollution of water bodies due to reckless release of the sewage of human settlements, effluents of industrial and agricultural activities.
With increasing population, urbanization and industrialization, India has emerged as one of the worst water stress region of the world. Expressing their anxieties over growing conflicts over water use, scientists and experts have urged the union and state governments to chalk out a comprehensive plan for integrated development and conservation of water resources.
Participating at a three day national Symposium on “Water Resource Management for sustainable Development” (WRMSD – 2010) organized by Institute of Advance Technology & Environmental Studies (IATES), here the participants unanimously recommended for rain water harvesting on surface as well as charging of aquifers in a scientific manner without any contamination, adoption of efficient irrigation system like sprinkle and drip irrigation and encouraging farmers for producing crops, which consume less water, improved technology to minimize loss in transporting water etc.
The experts also urged the authorities to ensure proper treatment of sewage, industrial effluents etc. before discharging the treated water to the main water bodies, planned development of wet lands. Besides, the Symposium recommended that industries should have captive rain water harvesting programmes to meet their water requirements and also should recycle the waste water.
IATES chairman and former director general, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research [CSIR], Dr P K Jena on Monday told “The ET”, “India is in a water stress region of the world. In the major sectors of water use, we have been very careless in utilizing the water resources. We are also responsible for polluting a major part of the surface as well as the ground. In order to have a sustainable socio economic development, we have to plan and implement urgently an integrated water management programme involving the concerned technical persons and the public. The government has the responsibility to provide fresh water to all as per their requirements”.
At present, India uses nearly 70% of the total surface and ground water for irrigation purpose, about 10% for domestic sector and the remaining 20% for industries. By 2050, the country would have to double its food grain production by the year 2050, is going to to about 420 million tons and its projected water requirement would also go up to 1180 km3 compared to the present requirement of around 800 km3.
“The most daunting challenge before all of us is to plug the loopholes in our water management policies and technological intervention is highly required, For instance inefficient water management is reflected in poor patterns of water delivery and water losses through seepage, leaks and evaporations. In India, nearly 47% of the water being supplied is lost in the distribution system before it reaches the consumers. This is too much and the Government needs to redraft its water management strategy”, Mr Jena said.