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VAK's Engagement with Water Issues > What's been in the Newspapers > March 2009
"The Flow Need Not Stop", 12th March 2009, The Times of India

India's water resources are depleting quite rapidly. Rainfall is, after all, limited in quantity and the availability of water in our rivers and lakes is decreasing rapidly as populations grow, agricultural and industrial usage increases and lifestyle changes occur. Also, the waters we pollute become unavailable for beneficial uses. In shot, we are running out of water. In India, water has been reused for agriculture for over a hundred years. With some treatment, wastewater has been reused in industry and commerce, especially since the early 1960s.

Hyderabad uses as much as 20 million litres per day of the city's treated sewage to make up for evaporation losses in its famous lake. Sewage is treated to a high degree in a special treatment plant and used to keep the lake topped up at all times. Rajasthan is presently developing a lake area, with local funding, where water is badly needed for tourism development. Sewage will be brought from Jaipur city after high-level and other losses. The success of this project, backed by extensive analytical monitoring work, will take us a step further in the art of reuse. Tourist activities around a clean lake as well as aquaculture and reuse bring income. Income is the key that motivates caretakers. If it goes to the government or local authority, neglect sets in.

In most cases, wastewater is first treated well in a mechanised treatment plant and then made to flow underground for 'natural' treatment, as is planned for Jaipur. In flowing underground through soil and aquifer, the wastewater's micro-pollutants are removed and quality is further improved. Groundwater may be re-treated just before supply, if necessary.

"Water supply: BMC takes foreign help to detect, fix leaks", 16th March 2009, The Indian Express

The civic body has tied up with PUB, Singapore's national water agency, to detect and plug leakages across the city using hi-tech devices. By the BMC's own admission, the loss of water due to leakage and pilferage is a shocking 20% or approximately 680 million litres daily (MLD). The BMC supplies 3,450 MLD to the city from six lakes. The pilot project will be taken up in Malabar Hill, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar, covering 11 of the 112 water zones. Each zone covers approximately 20 km. The project, which will last a year, will cost around Rs 10 crore. "Similarly, we will also put up new consumer meters to check the inflow and outflow of water at the consumer level to ascertain consumption. This will help us quantify the amount of unaccounted for water or water that is lost in the system," said Charankar.

"A Chilean town withers in free market for water", 16th March 2009, The Hindu

Quillagua is among many small towns in Chile that are being swallowed up in the country's intensifying water wars. Nowhere is the system for buying and selling water more permissive than here in Chile, experts say, where water more permissive than here in Chile, experts say, where water rights are private property, not a public resource, and can be traded like commodities with little government oversight or safeguards for the environment. Private ownership is so concentrated in some areas that a single electricity company from Spain, Endesa, has bought up 80 per cent of the water rights in a huge region in the south, causing uproar.

Some economists have hailed Chile's water rights trading system, which was established in 1981 during the military dictatorship, as a model of free-market efficiency that allocates water to its highest economic use. That prosperity first began to ebb in 1987, when the military government reduced the water to the town by more then two-thirds, said Raul Molina, a geographer at the University of Chie. But the big blows came in 1997 and 2000, when two episodes of contamination ruined the river for crop irrigation or livestock during the critical summer months. Chile's regional Agriculture refuted those findings in 2000, saying in a report that people, not nature, were responsible. Heavy metals and other substances associated with mineral processing were found that killed off the river's shrimp and made the water undrinkable for livestock.

"The need of the hour", 22nd March 2009, The Times of India

Our country gets about 4,000 billion cubic meters of water from the sky out of which only about one-fourth of this is actually usable, as the rest runs off into the sea. Whatever, we could do for impounding water has been done to a large extent; there are about 4,500 large dams in our country and thousands of small water holding structures. The average availability of usable water has correspondingly decreased for bout 6000 cubic meter per capita per day to 1500 to 1800 meter per capita par day.

Rainwater harvesting

What is rain water harvesting? To put it simply, rain water harvesting means catching and holding rain where it falls and using it. We can store it in tanks or can use it to recharge groundwater. Rainwater harvesting is an effective tool option to gather the rain water and store it appropriately. Harvesting helps utilize a large quantity of good quality water which would otherwise go to waste creating several problems on the way. Rainwater harvesting is a simple, economical and eco-friendly technique of preserving every drop of water falling on the earth.

Vikas Adhyayan Kendra
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