Man­ag­ing wa­ter

Down to Earth - - LETTERS -

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


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