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VAK's Engagement with Water Issues > What's been in the Newspapers > January 2009

"Saline solutions" 9th January 2009, The Indian Express

To ask whether the sea can be saved may, how ever, be to pose the wrong question. It is not going to disappear: rather the opposite. But that does not mean it is safe, nor even that it can strictly be saved, in the sense of returned to some pristine pre-industrial state, not at least for thousands of years. It is going to be changed, come what may, and the questions are more about how it will be changed and how marine and there life will adapt. Again, many of the answers are unclear. Will calcium-carbonate-shelled creatures adjust or die as the ocean grows less alkaline? Will hurricanes grow more or less intense as the seas grow warmer? Will changes in the circulation of the depths warm and destabilize the hydrates on the seabed, releasing quantities of greenhouse gases from their deep-sea prisons?

Human ingenuity can be relied on to come to the rescue: carbon can be captured, green fuels will become economic, and the sea itself can be engineered to absorb all man-made CO2.

Is it for you to ravage seas and land?

As for fishing, it needs to be better managed to take advantage of the huge opportunities for feeding a growing would. Fish are already the main animal protein for over 1 billion people and provide the livelihood for 200m people, 90% of them in poor countries. Developing states cannot afford to ruin their fisheries the way that richer countries have. In California, where sardines, mackerel and tuna were once the staples of the fishing industry, three of the five most valuable catches are no longer fish but squid, crabs and sea urchins. The sea needs owners, and where that is impossible it needs international agreements for regulation, management and policing. Peru, whose anchoveta fishery is the largest in the world, is coming round to a rights-based approach to fishing, as are some African and South-East Asian governments.

"Good news: Mumbai to have FEWER DRY TAPS" 7th January 2009, The Times of India

The city's water crisis is set to ease by 100 mld from 7th January, following an agreement between the BMC and the state irrigation department to increase supply from the Bhatsa river. The water is being supplied on the condition that the BMC coughs up arrears of Rs 148 crore over the next years to the state government. The deal effectively means the BMC would have met part of the daily shortfall of 780 mld. At the moment, water supply is only 3,470 mld as against the demand of 4,250 mld.

And bad news Plugging leaks a pipedream: The civic body had been in talks with firms in Singapore and Malaysia over the last few months to buy ground penetration radars (GPRs) and aqua loggers. But according to civic officials, the firms have said it will not be feasible for them demonstration due to the prohibitive costs. "The firms say it is too expensive to bring their equipment without an assurance they will be selected.

Mumbai's water pipe network is nearly 4,600 km long. Most pipes from lakes to filtration plants are not underground, but the mains from filtration plans to reservoirs and the distributor mains, are underneath. Though the civic body is using conventional methods to detect leakages, the radars that cost about Rs 2 crore each will provide a detailed description of underground utilities. A senior civic official from the hydraulic department said, "Once we know saturation spots, we will be able to identify the leaks.

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