Apropos "Every drop matters" (1-15 July, 2018). Management of water includes supply and storage. In India, one-fourth of water supplied for domestic use is wasted due to faulty pipelines and misuse which can be averted by enhancing efficiency. Interlinking rivers can also be used to divert water to the parched areas. Another alternative is storing water underground, which may reduce the need to dam rivers. It also avoids evaporation in areas like western Rajasthan which lose more
water into the air than to consumption. Water engineers should understand that the underground reservoir technology is already tested and ready to go. Proponents say it will only become more relevant with climate change. Water from melting glaciers in India and Pakistan can be stored underground.
More extreme weather events, like drought and flooding, are expected in the future. During flash floods, we should have a mechanism to store water underground. Rejuvenating waterbodies needs collection of data pointing out silting of lakes, anicuts and dams. As these cannot store water, they should be either desilted or abandoned as per existing conditions of water. About 25 per cent of waterbodies remain silted for want of budget. These works may be taken up under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). As agriculture consumes over 80 per cent of water, crops like sugarcane and paddy present a pattern of intensive water use, consuming about 0.7 kg/m3. With limited use of water along with change of cropping pattern, a productivity of about 3 kg/m3 can be realised for most common crops well adapted to the ecosystem. The most important lesson is that water system planning must be based on biomass productivity of a unit of water rather than a unit of land. SUSHIL BAKLIWAL JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN
VIKAS CHOUDHARY / CSE