(GIST OF YOJANA) Water Conservation as a National Movement [SEPTEMBER-2019]

(GIST OF YOJANA)  Water Conservation as a National Movement


Water Conservation as a National Movement


India is changing to a country when whole World recognizing it as New India. The world’s largest democracy is now fast transforming into a rich, self-reliant, developed, net exporter of food, transparent and vibrant country, while having a well developed infrastructure, skilled and dynamic youth, up-to-date communication, advanced health and educational systems, improved governance and growing economy.

  1. India in recent times has become a globally recognized hub of IT industry, health tourism, space research and use of satellite technology and several other sectors.
  2. India is not only committed to fulfill its international obligations towards biodiversity conservation, environmental management, climate change mitigation, human rights, social justice, equity as well as peace but at the same time it is fully geared for planned accomplishments essential for nation building and meaningful contribution towards global agenda on sustainable development.

Water Crisis - A Major Impediment

  1. India has just 2.4% geographical area of the world while harbouring nearly one sixth of the global population and the world's highest owner of livestock (512 million heads). Therefore, despite having made above cited notable progress and accomplishments in different sectors, India faces several limitations and global challenges in order to realize dreams, expectations and ever rising aspirations of its people.
  2. Amongst them, interrelated water crisis and food insecurity attract special attention as these attain highest risk values owing to burgeoning population, rapid urbanization; industrialization and infrastructure development; expansion and intensification of agriculture; loss of wilderness and degradation of natural resources (forests, grasslands, wetlands including rivers, marine and coastal ecosystems); large gaps between supplies and demands of various sectors and implications of climate change.

Water Conservation

  •  Water conservation is complex and daunting, particularly in a human dominated country like India having several competing demands.
  •  The result of excessive use, waste, pollution and allied activities have resulted in the current situation with reduced e-flow of majority of the country's dying rivers and other water bodies, deepening of water table and sites of unmanageable crowds at water distribution points.

Water conservation primarily involves the following three objectives:

  1. Enhance water availability - This could be mainly achieved by adopting a mixed strategy focussing on the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems (forests, grasslands and wetlands including rivers), increasing green cover aiming at source sustainability, managing riparian forest buffers, adoption of water efficient diversified agriculture, encouraging rainwater harvesting, undertaking massive soil and moisture conservation efforts, storage in reservoirs, water budgeting, recycling and reuse.
  2. Improve water quality - This means effective law enforcement and stringent regulations, pollution control, restrictions on pouring of sewage, urban waste, industrial effluents and even prohibition on use of toxics (pesticides and weedicides) in agriculture, establishment of STPs and water treatment plants and adoption of bioremediation techniques.
  3. Reducing water-related risks - Considerable area of the country is being annually impacted by droughts, floods, long dry. Spells and different health hazards. Adoption of integrated watershed management programmed, flood control mechanisms, climate resilient agriculture, promotion of alternate income generation activities and sustainable livelihoods can minimize risks and disaster management.

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Six priority actions are visualised for making water management sustainable in the country

  1. Institutions and Governance: Institutions working/contributing directly or indirectly towards water management would need strengthening and augmentation of manpower and financial resources and also a platform to bring in their efforts together for synergistic outcome. Governance at all levels would definitely matter to establish judicious water use and prevention and resolution of conflicts.
  2. Participatory Approach: The National movement certainly requires participatory approaches seeking involvement and empowerment of people so they can establish a mechanism to implement and enforce judicious use of water and efficient management of precious water resources.
  3. Knowledge Management: The complex subject of water resource management calls for collaborations/networking and institutionalising synergies between various entities for development and exchange of evidence-based knowledge on ecosystem functions and development of suitable technologies to improve water resource management to ensure source sustainability. Development of ‘Nature-Based Solutions’ for various aspects of water management offer better opportunities and would be of immense help.
  4. Ecosystem-Based Management Approach: The move from isolationist approaches to holistic approaches are desirable on a priority basis. Thereby, greater focus on river basins and riverscapes for planning, assessment and interventions are the need of the hour. The awareness and sensitization campaign on massive scale need to be undertaken for educating the masses on the significance of maintaining our ecosystem's integrity.
  5. Continuous Care: This aspect seeks concerted efforts towards conservation of existing water sources as well as rejuvenation of rivers/restoration/recharging of depleted water resources. Utmost care is required to be taken for retaining the water sources. making them sustainable and ensuring judicious use thereof.
  6. Capacity Development: The task of water management is tricky. Success towards countering water wastage and degradation of natural ecosystems could be accomplished by creating awareness and appropriate capacity development of various stakeholders. Specialised agencies can be deployed fur preparing the blueprint for budgeting the water resource within the framework of the legislation on the subject and then formulate strategies for its successful implementation.

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