Life is nothing without water. It is the most essential demand of an organism as its priority stands next to the air we breathe in. Water is not only important for animals but it is a basic necessity for all the terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Water preservation is the agenda containing a set of policies, activities and the strategies for preserving various sources of water. The total freshwater makes up to only 1 per cent of the world's water supply, meaning we need to conserve this to give ourselves a chance to survive long. This article emphasizes the need for water along with the available options to preserve it.
Need for water management
Water scarcity is closely linked with poor monsoon due to the unnatural human activities. There is irregular distribution of rainfall across different regions of the world and India is not an exclusion. Furthermore, inequitable rainfall results in the disparity of the allocation of usable artificial water sources across many regions. In unusual circumstances, despite good rains, underground water tables are finishing soon. This is due to the fact that we are allowing rainwater to flow into oceans without being used. Due to the poor groundwater, a massive loss of vegetation cover is adding further tension on the global temperature.
Some strategies to preserve water
Some of the ways we can save water include water harvesting, drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting.
1. Water harvesting
The technique to save water is called water harvesting. In summers water level of rivers goes below, people do not have a sufficient amount of water to drink like in Rajasthan. Hence it is important to save water. It can be done by two major processes, rainwater harvesting and groundwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting is a method of collection and storage of rainwater into natural reservoirs or tanks or the infiltration of surface water into subsurface aquifers whereas the groundwater harvesting is a method that saves save water placed under the ground to control the groundwater flow in an aquifer and to raise the water table. Water harvesting ensures a scientific way of safeguarding the fertility of the soil. It also helps to build a healthy water conservation system to increase biomass production. Biomass is the total yield of plant or animal product in a given area. Proper watershed management increases the crop quality and quantity making way to easily mitigate droughts and floods by diverting the excess of water towards downstream dams and other reservoirs. Water harvesting is an indigenous concept that relies on many factors. Different provinces in India made use of a variety of systems as shown in the table below.
Khadin, tanks, nadis
Madhya Pradesh and U.P.
Delhi and surrounding areas.
Advantages of the water harvesting system
Easy to Maintain as we are utilizing natural rain
It helps to reduce the water bills as we do not install an expensive underground pumping system. We are allowing water to flow from the highland area to low land area hence it is not absolutely necessary to spend a lot of electricity to pump the water.
Water from the harvesting systems remains stable and clean as it is not treated with chemical reagents.
It saves a lot of underground water.
By collecting rain, we can reduce floods and soil erosion.
2. Drip irrigation
Drip irrigation is a type of irrigation which that saves water and fertilizer by dripping water slowly to the roots of various crops, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. This saves more water than the traditional watering method.
3. Water-wise habits
There are various wise habits to conserve water. Like during washing clothes we can utilize wise techniques to save water. Fixing leaky taps. Keeping the tap closed while brushing, taking a quick shower instead of long baths are a few examples of saving water.
Role of dams
The use of dams, canals and other forms of water storage techniques were strictly regulated by British people during the pre-independent era. Later on, the maintenance of those irrigation systems has purely become a local affair. After independence, many mega-projects started by Britishers remained incomplete. Therefore, people started once again the local irrigation methods, and the government also increasingly took over the administration of those systems. Among all these dams play a vital role in preserving natural rainwater. They are an essential part of the water reservoir system in India as they can allocate the water in such a way that, water is evenly distributed throughout the year based on the demands in a given graphic area. Moreover, large-sized dams ensure the storage of adequate water that can be used for electricity production. Dams distribute the water with the help of canal systems that can transfer large amounts to a greater distance in a quick time.
Some issues and concerns
There are many examples of opposing the construction of dams in the past. The construction of Tehri Dam on the river Ganga and the protests by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (‘Save the Narmada Movement’) about raising the height of the Sardar are the best examples. Locals have opposed the dam constructions in their premice because of many reasons. Social problems have arisen because the government has displaced a large number of inhabitants to build the dam. These were tribal people and they haven’t paid adequate compensation or rehabilitation for displacing them. Economic problems have increased because the contractors and officials have swallowed up huge amounts of public money without giving the benefits that they promised. Environmental problems occurred as a result of the destruction of forest reservoirs to build the dams and canal system.