Water harvesting key to solve future water crisis

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Itanagar, Feb 22 (UNI) Harvesting of water, conservation and management are the prime concerns of the public authority not only for sustainable agriculture and its development but also for mitigating the number of natural calamities both in hilly and dry land areas.

According to the experts speaking in a seminar 'Water harvesting and its management for sustainable development', water harvesting was the future of sutainable growth.

The seminar is organised by the department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) of North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST) and sponsored by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. It suggested various measures that should be adopted for water harvesting in the North Eastern states in particular and the country in general to overcome future water crisis. "The concept of water harvesting is an old wine in a new bottle; it is very much the need of the hour in order to narrow down the supply-demand gaps of water," commented Professor B C Mal from department of agriculture engineering, IIT Kharagpur. He said agriculture had always remained a gamble with monsoon and the situation was further assuming precarious levels due to non-adherence of implementing water harvesting strategies. Disclosing that India received an annual precipitation of around 4000 billion cubic meters including snowfall, Professor Mal pointed out that the seasonal rainfall during monsoon was around 3000 cubic meters and out of this, the average annual flow available in the rivers was around 1,869 billion cubic meters.

However, owing to topographic, hydrological and other constraints, the utilization surface water was assessed at 690 billion cubic meters in addition to the annual replenshible ground water resources was about 452 billion cubic meters, he added.

"Despite the importance of aquatic ecosystems in generating service and amenity values, our scientific understanding of how such systems function is rudimentary. The technology needed to resolve these water issues in workable ways is not available," he said.

Professor Mal said the strategic challenge for the future was to ensure adequate quantity and quality of water to meet human and ecological needs in the face of growing competition among domestic, industrial-commercial, agriculture and environmental uses.

Referring to the North Eastern states, Professor Mal said that the region with abundant natural water sources was an ideal place for water harvesting. Control bunding, graded bunding and terracing were some of the methods which could be suitably used for water harvesting in the region, he opined.

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