(GIST OF YOJANA) Energy Efficiency is the Key for Sustainable Development [JUNE-2019]
(GIST OF YOJANA) Energy Efficiency is the Key for
Forests and Water-Conservation and
The earth’s ecosystems with the services they provide, such as food, water,
climate regulation, spiritual fulfillment and the aesthetic environment sustain
human life on planet earth (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). Streams,
rivers and floodplains are among the most dynamic ecosystems on Earth. However,
most of' these ecosystems have significantly been impaired during the past few
decades due to unequal distribution and a sharp rise in global freshwater demand
driven by industry. Most of the world’s
large river-floodplain ecosystems have been altered by human activities.
Though nearly 70 per cent of the world is covered by water, only about 2.5 per
cent of it is freshwater and less than 1 per cent of the freshwater is actually
accessible in lakes and rivers. Freshwater has been vital renewable natural
resources in the form of rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, groundwater, cave water,
springs, floodplains and wetlands ( bogs, marshes, and swamps) for sustaining
life and establishing civilisations throughout history . Nearly 70 percent of
the freshwater used humans goes to agriculture. Technically, today, there is
sufficient amount of freshwater on a global scale.
Water scarcity is the most critical issue of our lifetime and future
generations. The increasing world population, improving living standards,
changing consumption patterns and expansion of irrigated agriculture are the
main driving forces for the rising global demand for water. Climate change,
deforestation, pollution, greenhouse gases and wasteful use may result in
insufficient supply. Extensive degradation because of urbanisation has
threatened the forests that nurture the water regime in the ground.
Similarly, expansion of road network in higher reaches or upstream areas has
caused extensive landslides and erosion and has caused irreparable damage to the
perennial water streams. These factors have influenced the ecological
functioning of the world’s major water bodies and in turn destroyed the various
Consequently, about two billion of world's population is going through water
stress which is expected to increase with time. In fad, extent of availability
of clean water could prove to be the stepping-stone to development. Issues
pertaining to water accessibility, quantity and quality are major global
concerns. India is no exception as it is home to one sixth of the world’s total
population but has only 4 per cent of the water resources sustaining the economy
in terms of agriculture, power and biological productivity.
Values of per capita surface water availability lave continuously declined and
in the per future the country is expected to become ‘water stressed’ Water
crisis will also lead to health crisis, and women unduly while taking away their
considerable time from work, family care and causes loss of economic
A few of the country's pioneer efforts to tap forest catchment potential to
augment water supplies to major cities and drier regions are highlighted as
Construction of Mullaperiyar dam on Periyar River in Kerala so as to divert
water eastwards to the arid rain shadow region of Madurai under the then Madras
Presidency and creating a large lake (26 km2 ). Forests surrounding the lake and
the entire Jake area now constitute the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR).
Diverted water augmented the small flow of
Vaigai River and brought notable
changes in the thirsty area and ensured sustainable livelihoods by way of
Protection to high altitude oligotrophic lake, Marsar and diverse forests (500
km) in the mid slopes constituting the catchment of Dagwan River so as to ensure
clean water supply for the city of Srinagar.
Similar initiative was taken to provide ensured water supply to Shimla town
during the colonial time.
A small forest patch ( 10.15 km2 ) located 8 km east of Shimla constituted an
important forested catchment with dense Deodar forests and Oak forests w as
leased to Shimla Municipal Committee in 1878. Ever since, the water supply to Shimla town is from the catchment
The forest was declared a Protected Forest and finally notified as Shimla
Water Catchment Wildlife
Likewise, the water distribution system in Mumbai metropolis is more than 150
years old; Water
is brought into the metropolis from various reservoirs. Tansa dam on Tansa River
in Thane district was opened in 1892.
Forests and varied natural water resources (surface water and ground water)
are complex and dynamic in nature. In India, there has been a long history of
management of forests as well as adequately documented traditional systems of
water harvesting and water use, practiced in drylands.
Development Goals which reflect complex and interrelated nature of social,
economic and ecological wellbeing parameters. In recent past, India has directed
its development pathway to meet its priorities of food, water and energy
security; economic growth: disaster resilience and poverty alleviation while
maintaining the natural capital and adopt transparent and robust governance
along democratic lines
SDGs related to water ( SDG 6) and land (SDG15) explicitly acknowledge the
linkages between forests and water.
Further, SDG 6 and SDG 15 have strong interconnections with targets of other
SDGs and thus, approaches adopted towards ecosystem management, sustainable
forest management, biodiversity conservation, effective and efficient use of
water resources would not only contribute to other
SDGs but would ensure sustainable overall development and fulfillment of global