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Conference on water: Water security in India

Context:

An e-conference on water source sustainability was jointly organised by the Indian Water Resources Society and the department of water resources development and management in June 2021. The main agenda was the demand and supply of water.

Relevance:

GS-III: Agriculture (Issues related to Irrigation), GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Sustainable use of water)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the Conference on Water
  2. Way Forwards suggested

Highlights of the Conference on Water

  • A recent conference on water provided an opportunity to policymakers, academicians, researchers and students to gain expertise from technical experts on matters of water resource engineering and management for water source sustainability by including a combination of theory, conceptual and applied science.
  • Wastewater usage, water-effecient agriculture, knowledge of soil moisture and convergence in agriculture could be possible methods to deal with the twin scourges of climate change and the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to experts at a recent conference on water.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has shown that water bodies in India are shrinking in size. “Encroachment is leading to the shrinking of water bodies, which is evident from as many as 87 lakes in Bengaluru that have been encroached upon and have consequently shrunk.
  • People’s dependency on groundwater has led to the unplanned and reckless exploitation of ground water sources.
  • The conference focused on the analytical and computational aspects of water as well.  It was suggested that protocols should be made on the usage and supply of water. India should also have a buffer stock that can be used during emergencies in the future. In a diverse country like India, different models should be made for different regions.
  • India is the country with the highest usage of water in agriculture — 13 per cent — followed by China, US and Russia.
  • Climate change has impacted rainfall patterns, thereby leading to variations in soil moisture content.

Way Forwards suggested

  • There is a need to implement technologies that conserve water and practice sustainable agriculture. Sustainable models should be made on water budgeting, its allocation and management of competitive demand of water in all sectors.
  • Substitution of water should be taken into account along with technology, pricing and reuse options. Wastewater should be treated as a resource and not as waste. Once treated and purified, this treated water can be substituted for fresh water.
  • Cohesive decision-making is needed at the central and state level to manage water resources.
  • Emphasis should be given to conservation of water and development of alternate sources of water. One can reuse waste water post treatment. An integrated approach is needed to ensure water security by adopting sustainable technologies in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical engineering.
  • Understanding of soil moisture in varied regions will help in understanding water runoff. The precipitation is usually high in summers and one should focus on acts of downscaling.
  • From drip irrigation to sprinkler irrigation, convergence is needed in agriculture. Energy and agriculture should be emphasised in any policy or model of water supply and management.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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