Water resources play major role in the world. The water is the root for the development of culture, civilization, cultivation, religion, living and farming. Managing water resources across the world involved several different approaches, methods, issues, solutions, and even sometimes became reason for regional conflicts across the world. Hence, this insight is based on a conference held in Hyderabad, India.  Please look at this conference insight from resource management, best practices, challenges and solutions point of view.

Water Resources Availability: According to some of the experts, 150 million people in India will have zero ground water levels by 2020. One way to handle this is to evaluate multiple approaches to managing water resources. One needs to find out the remedies and contingencies. Water is vital; and without water there is no living at all. The famous quote:

 “Don’t Waste Water”

We find everywhere in current days in public places. Any country’s economy/industry depends on water resources; as input. The best approach is countries like Brazil is following stringent forest laws.

Generations of Drinking Water: 1960-85 used surface water; 1985-95 The Netherland co-operation scheme has been implemented; 1995-2000 moved to ground water resources; 2000-Present generation is moving towards bottled water (mineral water) got from ground water. Water conservation measures were started in year 2000.

Managing Water Resources: In India, with respect to water, 26% is only ground water; and 2% is the surface water (came because of rains, floods into tanks, lakes, ponds) on land; Best practice to manage water is looking at it in environmental angle. Particularly in India, governmental organizations assess ground water levels every 2 years. Maintaining existing water resources and curtailing misuse are going to help. Watershed development program is going on in India for more than 4 decades.

Because of changing climate conditions, according to experts, India is experiencing on average 1 or 2 cyclones per year (earlier there used to be 5 to 6 cyclones per year). Also experts expressed that Indian existing drainage systems at multiple places can support only 10cm rain. More approaches to protect from excess rainfalls are to be researched. 22% of lakes and water bodies (surface resources) reduced in recent years. India has different qualities and quantities of ground water resources with red, black soils. Currently construction of many check dams is going on. Many NGOs and International organizations are supporting this initiative. Focus also should be on water security. Protection of lakes, water bodies, and projects is the need of the hour.

Irrigation, hydropower, industry and agriculture are the priority sectors. Water levels vary with respect to inter-district and intra district in the country. Focusing on supply of water; conserving and preserving water are the best practices for efficient utilization of water resources. Canal irrigation, smaller water bodies, and tanks can help the current scenario.

One of the interesting research finding is, 65 years of data analysis shows that last 2 decades has seen highest rainfall in India. Best practice is to balance the demand side and supply side with check dams, recharge shops and by drilling borewells.

Different States in India: Maharashtra state has invested maximum in India for irrigation projects. Rajasthan has experienced improvement in their water levels with their Jal Samsadhan Yojana. Because of 4,000 dams in India, ground water levels in nearby areas are going up. For example, there is very less surface water in Tamil Nadu (TN). However, Tamil Nadu (TN) has 41,000 tanks. Agriculture productivity is one among the top in TN among Indian states. TN spends 6.3% of their GDP on irrigation. 60% of employment is provided by agriculture sector in TN. Well water irrigation is more in TN. If canal irrigation improves, automatically well water irrigation also can improve.

For example, Andhra Pradesh (AP) has introduced real-time monitoring of water levels every hour. They monitor water levels in river flow, cyclone flow, and ground water every hour. Another example, Telangana is planning for an Integrated Water Cycle Management; where in human being is part of the water cycle. They do have rainwater theme park, circle/ward level core teams and citizen engagement programs.

Guidelines Development: There were guidelines for watershed development issued in 1994 in India. In 2008, fresh guidelines were issued for the same. Guidelines for the implementation of watershed development/construction were issued in 2017. Focus has shifted from major irrigation to dams/reservoirs, according to experts. Innovative low cost water conservation programs are developed. According to experts average rainfall of 500/550mm per year would be sufficient to implement rain water bodies.

Agriculture: Indian agriculture includes crops such as Paddy, sugar cane, soya beans, onion, potato, tomato, etc. Micro irrigation with borewells is taking place at several places. Rice is water intensive crop; whereas millets can come up in less water areas. Harvesting, recharging and reusing water resources can give sustainable consumption.

Across the World: 69% of the earth is occupied by water. In that only 2.5% is the fresh water in the world. Declining ground water levels is the major issue world is facing today (particularly developing and underdeveloped world). 2 billion people across the world out of total 7 billion world population are facing water stress in the world.

People across the world are worrying for 2 things.

  1. No Water – People are worrying
  2. More Water – Then also people are worrying (cyclones)

Technology, policy, environmental sustainability and flood management can help effective use of water resources across the world. Research has proved that freedom from water stress have positive benefits with respect to health and industrial production/productivity. Data quality and application of technology can play major role in managing water resources. Balancing between institutional information and indigenous information is required.

Challenges and Issues: Ground water in several places has issues such as Fluoride, Iron, Arsenic, Nitrate and Ocean water intrusion. River pollution and urbanization are some of the challenges. Sewage network issues, lake pollution, sewage leakages, solid waste management, chemical constituents, industrial wastes, metal contaminations are some of the challenges. One more challenge is the treatment cost of waste water. Sources of contamination have impact over health. Different types of water pollution include ground water pollution, suspended or particulate matter, agricultural runoff, and industrial wastes such as sulfuric acid; animal waste and plastic waste. IT/Telecom equipment/sports equipment contribute to e-waste. India is ranked at 5th position in e-waste generation.

Solution: According to the experts (of course, I am not a water management expert), water pollution can be controlled with soil conservation, dispose of toxic chemical in proper manner, cleanup beaches and waterways, improving awareness on waste disposable system, and effective implementation of regulations and guidelines. Waste water treatment, recycling and reuse took place in several parts of the country.

Thank you. Happy learning……(remember; this is only for learning purpose);

Best Wishes on New Year-2020

Dr.Goparaju Purna Sudhakar

One thought on “Conference Insight: Managing Water Resources”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Captcha *