The use of wastewater, water-efficient agriculture, knowledge of soil moisture and convergence in agriculture could be possible methods to deal with the double scourge of climate change and the new coronavirus disease (Covid -19), according to experts at a recent water conference.
The conference enabled policymakers, academics, researchers and students to acquire the expertise of technical experts on engineering issues and water resources management for the sustainability of water sources by including a combination of theory, conceptual and applied science.
The Source Water Sustainability E-Conference was jointly organized by the Indian Water Resources Society and the Department of Water Resources Development and Management from June 18-20, 2021. The main agenda was the water demand and supply.
The Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) has shown that water bodies in India are decreasing in size. âThe encroachment leads to the reduction of water bodies, which is evident for no less than 87 lakes in Bangalore that have been encroached and consequently shrunk. How to ensure sustainable water supply, use and treatment is the need of the hour, âsaid Chandra Shekhar Jha, scientist and chief executive officer of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Isro.
The conference focused on various facets of water such as supply and demand management, sustaining water sources in the era of climate change, technological upgrading of traditional methods of water conservation, technological developments to ensure the sustainability of water sources, treatment technologies and water quality management. , the active participation of the populations in the management and governance of water.
Deepankar Saha, former member of the Central Ground Water Board, explained:
âThe dependence of the population on groundwater has led to the unplanned and reckless exploitation of groundwater sources. It is necessary to implement technologies that conserve water and practice sustainable agriculture. Sustainable models should be developed on water budgeting, its allocation and management of competitive water demand in all sectors.
The conference also focused on the analytical and computational aspects of water. It was suggested that protocols be established on the use and supply of water. India is also expected to have a buffer stock that can be used in an emergency in the future. In a country as diverse as India, different models need to be created for different regions.
From drip irrigation to sprinkler irrigation, convergence is needed in agriculture. Energy and agriculture should be emphasized in any policy or model of water supply and management.
Neelam Patel, Senior Agricultural Advisor, NITI Aayog
âThe substitution of water must be taken into account as well as the options of technology, pricing and reuse. Wastewater must be treated as a resource and not as waste. Once treated and purified, this treated water can replace fresh water. Coherent decision-making is needed at central and state levels to manage water resources, âsaid Jagdish Prasad Gupta, Chief State Tax Commissioner, Gujarat.
How to ensure linear water security? Vijay P Singh, professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at A&M University in Texas, explained:
âThe focus should be on water conservation and the development of alternative water sources. Wastewater can be reused after treatment. An integrated approach is needed to ensure water security by adopting sustainable technologies in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical engineering.
India is the country that uses the most water in agriculture – 13% – followed by China, the United States and Russia. Singh also insisted on making agriculture more water efficient in India.
How to ensure water security in a time of climate change? A study undertaken by Stacy L Hucthinson of Kansas State University, USA, spoke about the geospatial science of water. He noted:
Countries should shift their focus from global and climate change models to regional models. Climate change has impacted precipitation regimes, causing variations in soil water content. Understanding the soil moisture in various regions will help to understand water runoff. Precipitation is usually high in summer and one should focus on downscaling acts.
âClimate change is no longer just the problem of greenhouse gas emissions,â says Ed McBean, Canada Research Chair in Water Security, University of Guelph, Canada. He further explained that water bodies reflect an enormous amount of reflected radiation, which causes the global temperature to rise, causing glaciers to melt and sea level to rise.
Is the agricultural sector in India causing water scarcity? Neelam Patel, Senior Agricultural Advisor at NITI Aayog, shared her perspective: âFrom drip irrigation to sprinkler irrigation, convergence is needed in agriculture. Energy and agriculture should be emphasized in any policy or model of water supply and management.
This story was published with permission from Down To Earth.
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