PROMOTE RAINWATER HARVESTING TO BOOST BHUBANESWAR GROUNDWATER LEVEL
The World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for sustainable management of freshwater resources. Water is essential for life. The World Water Day 2016 is celebrated with the theme ‘Water and Jobs’.
According to the United Nations, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change. Major consumption of water is for agriculture, industry and domestic purposes. With the urbanisation and industrialisation, water usage is likely to increase in the coming years.
India receives most of its water from south-west monsoon which is the most important feature controlling its climate. The rainfall distribution over the country shows large variations in the amount of rainfall received by different locations. Despite adequate average rainfall in India, there is a large area under the less water conditions/drought. There are a lot of places where the quality of groundwater is not good. Some major reasons behind water scarcity are population growth and agriculture, increasing construction activities, massive urbanisation and industrialisation, climatic change, depleting of natural resources, deforestation and lack of implementation of effective water management systems.
There are many habitations in Odisha that do not meet the norm of 40 litres of water per capita per day. In a number of areas, tube-wells stop yielding water during summer and sometimes even before this. The problem occurs when the water-table falls. Drinking water facilities are not optimum in Odisha, particularly in its western and southern parts. Rural women have to walk several kilometers to fetch drinking water. A majority of rural people still depend on open water bodies, i.e., river, stream, pond, chua, etc., for drinking water.
Development of watershed is an important programme to make best use of rainwater for agriculture while improving soil conservation and biodiversity. Imposing regulatory measures to prevent the misuse of water would be helpful in conserving water. Finally, awareness and orientation of all the water users to change their lifestyles to conserve water can help prevent water crisis in future.
The environment of Bhubaneswar has been degraded due to high population growth and different manmade activities. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in the city. The temperature in summer is ranging in most of the days around 40 degree Celsius. The number of rainy days has decreased and the groundwater level has decreased by one meter in major areas of the city.
Most of the water bodies of Bhubaneswar are not protected. Besides, increasing surface runoff due to more paved areas decreases the groundwater recharge. Several water bodies near Old Town, Sundarpada and Kapilaprasad are lying neglected without renovation. Unplanned growth of multistoried buildings in and around water bodies is also causing fast depletion of the groundwater table. Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged to increase the groundwater level.
In the process of city planning, planners should earmark sufficient places for reserve forest, green belt and tree plantation. Water resources management issues must be addressed at the local, national and international levels.
A number of cities and metropolitan areas around the world are implementing the “Smart City” concept. Smart Water Management (SWM) in cities seeks to address challenges in the urban water management through the incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) products, solution and systems in areas of water management. A smart water network is an integrated set of systems that enable utilities to continuously monitor and diagnose problems.
Bhubaneswar, as the administrative, economic and cultural capital of Odisha, demands transformation of the temple city to a smart city. In the smart city Stage 1 competition, Bhubaneswar obtained 75 score and shortlisted and qualified for Stage 2 challenge. It participated in the stage 2, the Challenge round for selection. In the winning city proposal Bhubaneswar got the score of 78.83 points and topped the list. After selection of the cities in Stage II of the Challenge, the process of implementation will start with the setting up of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created for the purpose.
Smart water management solutions use instrumentation (e.g. metering systems) and analytics to better manage demand and supply. For example, they can anticipate potential delivery disruption, better forecast long-term demand, and coordinate resources to protect water supply. Further, smart water management solutions provide insights into the utility’s infrastructure, assets and operations, detecting patterns and anomalies and then acting on them. Such capabilities include pressure, leak management, flood management, sewer overflow mitigation, quality management and work scheduling.
Today, almost half of the world’s workers – 1.5 billion people – work in water-related sectors. Yet the millions of people who work in water are often not recognizsed or protected by basic labour rights. The theme in 2016 ‘Water and Jobs’ focuses on how enough quantity and quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods and even transform societies and economies.
We all have a shared responsibility for protecting the environment surrounding rivers and their associated watersheds. All stakeholders, including those in government, international organisations, private sector and civil society, should be engaged, paying special attention to work towards water cooperation. An immediate solution to India’s water crisis is to change water management practices by regulating usage with effective legislation.