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At a point when Kerala faces a crisis on the water front, the State government has announced its Water Policy, incorporating the principle ‘polluter pays’ and the slogan ‘recycle and reuse of drainage water.’ What more should be done to ensure the optimal and scientific management of the resource? Our readers respond:
Save the blessing
Water is precious, do not waste or misuse it. Keralites have been lavish in using water for all purposes. Hardly any one faces acute shortage of water. God has been kind enough to his own country all these days. Even as the belated monsoon is in full swing, the long queue for drinking water is a common scene in our neighbour State Tamil Nadu. The idea of recycling drainage water is good where there is no other option. But don’t we feel a bit hesitant to use recycled water?
If so what are we waiting for? Let us be more eco-friendly and earth bound. Let the natural process of recycling take its own course. More educative programmes at the school level and public awareness on avoiding wastage of water can bring a drastic change in the attitude of people towards natural resources and their effective management. The restricted use of water becomes a money saver too.
Our State Government is on the right path in announcing its water policy. The government has once again proved its commitment to safeguarding our resources which are in peril.
Our State has remained a mute witness to many policies without proper vision. Many such policies helped corrupt officials line their pockets. Roof water harvesting, check dams, and rain water pits were some examples. That gave me apprehensions about the present slogan. Let recycling and reuse of drainage water be our last resort. After all, what is the use of recycling if there remains no resource at all?
Reclamation of our paddy fields has already affected our eco system. We have to have ample provisions to let rain water percolate into the ground. Most of our efforts are in low-lying areas. These efforts alone cannot provide a permanent solution. So we must turn to the higher regions — the plateaus.
My suggestion is that the government acquire land measuring not less five cents each on every hill top and hillocks in each panchayat ward. There can be hundreds of such reservoirs in high altitude regions. The government can also compel private individuals to follow suit.
PalakkadAllow water to collect
Owing to unscientific cultivation and pilings to make buildings, the terrain has been flattened. Water cannot collect in this state.
Making pits across farms and gardens would help store water and see to it that it sinks down. The government should spread awareness about the need to store water flowing down from rooftops.
In Wayanad and other high ranges, marshy farms, which are storehouses of water, have been destroyed. Tractors and other modern machines have a big role in this. Our old ploughs and cattle should be brought back to the farm.
MeppayurUse only when needed
Earlier, people in villages and towns had to draw water from the wells for daily use. Besides being a good exercise, it imparted the awareness on the need for maintaining and saving the precious, clean, potable water table. But with urbanites going in for flat system of housing, this has become a thing of the past.
Just as we switch off lights and fans when not needed, we should be careful to close water taps as well. While brushing teeth, shaving etc. open the tap only when needed. Do not allow water to run on and on without purpose. All leaking pipes should be repaired. Just because one has a full overhead water tank, it does not mean that he can use it lavishly. Diligence and common sense are all that is needed to conserve water. But it must happen.
MankaveGrow more trees
Water resources development requires soil improvement and biomass regeneration in an integrated manner. Concentrate more on harvesting rain water. Organic regeneration of polluted water should be attempted. Growing more trees and lessening chemical use in soil can improve the organic health of the soil, its water retention capacity and ensure availability of more water.
The adaptability of people to less use of water during water deficient period should be improved through advocacy measures. Retaining or enhancing the areas of paddy fields should get prime attention.
Natural ponds and water bodies should be reclaimed and maintained.
A multi-pronged approach in our rain abundant State will yield results.
Geographically our State is placed in a vantage point. Nature bestows plenty of rainfall every year. But we have to worry about channelising rainfalls to our advantage.
For that the State Government should hold dialogue with society for protection and revival of our rivers. Most of our rivers are suffering from pollution, encroachments and underground water exploitation.
There are 44 rivers in our State and most of them are polluted. The authorities have to take decisive steps for their protection and revival. They have to build enough check dams and reservoirs to store water not only for drinking, agriculture but also for generating electricity. We are unnecessarily wasting much of our precious time for holding protests, strikes, demonstrations, hartals and bandhs. If we can use this precious time for productive purposes such as to build check dams and reservoirs, our State will become surplus not only for water, power but also we need not depend on our neighbouring States for food grains and vegetables.
Kerala, which is blessed with many rivers and ample rainwater, goes begging for potable water at summer, and at other times in case of failure or delay of monsoon. This is because there is no proper scheme for storage and conservation of water. The water in the rivers is allowed to flow into the sea at all times. With proper planning and little bit of funding, we can store and conserve our water to the optimum. Put to proper use our engineering skills in preventing unhindered flow of water into the sea and provision of embankment and/or additional reservoirs should be considered in right earnestness.
PavarattyKeep up on short-term methods
Nearly three fourth of the earth’s surface area and 90 per cent of our body weight is water. But only one per cent of earth’s water is available for human consumption, making it a cause for many disputes and quarrels. Most of the reasons for the present scarcity and depletion of water are man made. Global warming and related climate changes have a telling effect on the quantity and distribution pattern of our rain. Mindless deforestation, destruction of mid-level hills, reclamation of paddy fields etc. have seriously depleted our ground water reservoirs. The government’s efforts by legislation are less likely to achieve the desired results owing to the “perpetual opposition” of our democratic set up.
Short term efforts such as rain harvesting through rain pits, purifying of wells and ponds, water shed management efforts, construction of check dams and low cost ferro-cement tanks etc. were really epoch making.
MattannurRecycle waste water
Prevention is better than cure, let us start preserving our resources and make prudent use of them.
The Indian Rubber Research Institute has developed a technology to recycle the waste water generated during the production of natural rubber.
According to the Rubber Board sources, the new method developed uses anaerobic technology and can recycle the waste water within 24 hours.
The polluter should pay the penalty and laws should be enforced to see that the polluter pays the penalty.
Let there be no loopholes in the enforcement of the same.
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