'Neglecting traditional water harvesting techniques adversely affect sources'

'Neglecting traditional water harvesting techniques adversely affect sources'

'Neglecting traditional water harvesting techniques adversely affect sources'

Neglecting traditional water harvesting techniques has adversely affected the sustainability of water sources, said MIT Professor Dr Narayana Shenoy.

Speaking at a workshop on rainwater harvesting and ground water recharge organised by the zilla panchayat for the PDOs, zilla panchayat members and district-level officers here on Saturday, he said India was known for 71 types of watershed management techniques in the past. In the name of urbanisation, the watershed management techniques have been neglected, he said.

Calling for according priority to rainwater harvesting, watershed management and water conservation measures, he said people should change their mindset regarding conservation of water.

“The rapid urbanisation has converted the open wells and huge water tanks into a dump yard. As a result, river water in India is not potable. Over 40,000 deadbodies are found in River Ganga every year. In spite of spending Rs 32,225 crore for cleaning Ganga, the river continues to be one of the polluted water body,” Dr Shenoy said.

“The excess use of ground water has resulted in drying of borewells. We have to agree with the fact that ground water is an asset for the future generation. Through rainwater harvesting and judicious use of water, the problem of acute water shortage can be overcome,” he added.

Noting that Rs 1,12,000 crore cubic metre water is available in India, Dr Shenoy said that the demand is only for 71,000 crore cubic metre. In spite of the available water, the country has been facing acute water crisis where people do not have frequent supply of drinking water and farmers do not have water for irrigation. As we have failed to implement rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge, more than one lakh villages in the country are facing acute water crisis, he said.

Dr Shenoy said that the elected representatives, officials and public should raise awareness on rain water harvesting techniques. India receives second highest rainfall in the world.

“India is known for highest water sources including 2,100 rivers, 15,000 glaciers in Himalayas and 13 lakh man-made water tanks. If the people of Mangaluru fail to wake up to water crisis, then we may have to import pure drinking water in ship or train in the future,” he warned.

Fight over rivers originating from Himalayas have created rift between India, Pakistan and China in the past. If the groundwater table continues to deplete, then India may not have water by 2050, he added.

In her introductory remarks, ZP CEO P I Sreevidya said that scientific water management will help in addressing water crisis in the district. Local government institutions have a responsibility to create awareness on conservation and recharge of water. Funds available under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Emplyment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) could be used to recharge the borewells, digging farm ponds and lake rejuvenation.

Zilla panchayat president Meenakshi Santhogodu, Vice President Kasturi Panja and expert H Ramesh were present. 

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