(GIST OF YOJANA) Energy Efficiency is the Key for Sustainable Development [JUNE-2019]

(GIST OF YOJANA)  Energy Efficiency is the Key for Sustainable Development


Forests and Water-Conservation and Sustainable Development


  •  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 Crisis

  •  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 freshwater systems.
  •  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 opportunities.

UPSC Pre General Studies Study Material

Tapping forest Catchment Potential

  • 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 below:
  •  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 agriculture production.
  •  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 forests.
  •  The forest was declared a Protected Forest and finally notified as Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary.
  •  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.

Way forward

  •  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 commitments.

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