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VAK's Engagement with Water Issues > What's been in the Newspapers > September 2008

"Preserving good water", 3 rd September 2008 , The Hindu

An important call to protect the world's freshwater supplies has come from scientists, government leaders, and civil society representatives who met recently in Stockholm for World Water Week. As population and incomes grow, with concomitant consumption, there is a sharp rise in the demand for water for direct use, and as an input for food production. Many countries are also experiencing rising demand for water to grow biofuel crops. The global supply of freshwater, which every individual needs at the rate of 1,000 cubic metres per year to meet minimum drinking, hygiene, and subsistence requirements, is under strain. The priority must be to reduce water intensity in farming, the biggest single user. Even a small but significant saving in irrigated agriculture can deliver more water for people.

The conference heard distressing evidence of a large amount of food being thrown away every year, mainly in the developed world. According to a policy brief released at the conference in the United States, as much as 30 per cent of the food produced, valued at $48.3 billion, is thrown away; that wastes an estimated 40 trillion, litres of water, enough to meet the needs of 500 million people. The Challenge before all countries is to translate the improved awareness into effective conservation policies. Some may choose to charge for excessive water use and also deploy technologies such as desalination to increase availability. But these represent the low-hanging fruit. A sustainable future will depend on creating strong watersheds for farming, forming community tanks and lakes for rainwater harvesting, and strictly enforcing rules that compel cities and towns to reuse grey water.

"Rainfall drop in 68 per cent of country, says IITM study", 8 th September 2008, The Indian Express

In one of the few conclusive findings of rain patterns in the country, a recent research carried out by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Pune has decreased over two-thirds of the country, especially during the monsoon and winters. This completely overturns the general assumption that global warming naturally means an increase of rainfall in India . The temperature has been decreasing from about six kilometers upwards in the atmosphere. It's only the lower levels that have seen the rise in temperatures because of the global warming that we talk about. This cooling in the upper atmosphere is most intense in the Tibetan Himalayan highland area, leading to the weakening of Tibetan anticyclone-a weather phenomenon that is very important component of monsoon in India .

While 68 per cent or two-thirds of the area in the country has been found to get less rainfall, in the remaining one-third the rainfall levels have shown a definite increase. While states like Punjab , Bihar , Meghalaya and most of the north have shown a decrease in rainfall, in the south the trend is towards an increase in place like Karnataka, Andhra coast, Tamil Nadu and Konkan region. Whether this decrease will impact the Indian agriculture, depends heavily on the monsoons. Though the rainfall has decreased, its distribution over time is well spread that may even lead to a fillip for agriculture. Also over the last 30-40 years

People have learnt to manage water bodies that were ignored earlier. There are 94 wetlands and over five lakh irrigation dams spread out in the villages, 4291 dams have come up in the last four decades along with innumerable canals. This has led to lesser dependence on the vagaries of monsoons.

"Water connection at Rs100 for underprivileged launched", 10 September 2008 , The Hindu

City residents living in dwelling units with built area less than 500 sq. ft. will now get water supply connections for Rs100 each. The scheme for providing water supply connection at this rate for underprivileged consumers was launched at a function here 9 th Sept, 2008 . Minister M.K. Stalin said an estimated 48,000 house-holds in the city are expected to benefit from the scheme. At present, Rs. 5,000 each is charged for new water supply connections for houses with built area up to 1000 sq. ft. Similar charges are to be paid for sewer connections. Tenders are to be floated soon for the Nemmeli desalination plant. About Rs300 crore has been allotted, as the first instalment by the Central government, for the project. The Metrowater supplied 585 mld of water to the city. Steps are being taken to provide 1.2 lakh new water supply connections of which 40 per cent belong to economically weaker section.

"700 million litres of water stolen daily", 11 th September 2008 , DNA

Mumbai is losing 700 million litres of water per day, thanks to water thieves. As BMC has not been able to stop water-lines from leaking, it has started taking strict action against the thieves. This year, the BMC had lodged 491 police complaints against water thieves at various police stations under section 425(mischief), 426(punished for mischief), 430(mischief by injury to works of irrigation or by wrongfully diverting water) and 379(punishment for theft) of the IPC. Cases of water theft in eastern suburbs (210) are more compared to the city (74) and western suburbs (107). All these offences are residential and the BMC had cut the respective unauthorised connections.

"Root of urban migration: Not enough water to drink", 15 th September 2008, The Indian Express

It is the scarcity of drinking water resources that is causing people to migrate from rural parts of the state, especially the drought-prone regions, said Richard Mahapatra of Water aid India on the sidelines of the first consultation meeting for preparation of the Citizens' Report on Domestic Water and Sanitation. The drinking water situation has been acute in the past five years, with the government's response continuing to be poor. "People do not get even a minimum of 3 litres of water a day.

Over the last few decades groundwater levels have depleted with movement from wells to handpumps and borewells. "The ground water level is also polluted because of the presence of fluoride and chlorine in several districts of the state. The bacterial contamination of water in rural areas is between 19 and 59 per cent, according to statistics from the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA), "said Seema Kulkarni, SOPPECOM, in a presentation at the workshop.

"Water in India-Nepal relations", 17 th September 2008 , The Hindu

India-Nepal relations have been badly mismanaged on both sides. The time has come to make a break with the past and explore new beginnings. Let us first consider what went wrong in the past. The Kosi/Gandak agreements of the 1950s were not inspired by any large visions of 'regional cooperation'; they were essentially projects conceived by India to meet its requirements or solve its problems, with some benefits to Nepal included. That was the way the projects were designed with Nepal 's agreement, but they were subsequently criticised in Nepal for conferring substantially more benefits on India than on Nepal , though this was inevitable given the relative magnitudes of cultivable areas in the two countries.

"Save ozone save Earth", 17 th September 2008 , The Hindustan Times

The Ozone hole is larger in 2008 than the previous year but is not expected to reach the size seen two years age, the World Meteorological Organisation said. The size it reaches is dependent on weather conditions. Experts warned that such is the damage to the ozone layer, which shields the Earth from harmful ultra-violet rays, it will only attain full recovery in 2075.

Ozone provides a natural protective filter against harmful ultra-violet rays from the sun, which can cause sunburn, cataracts and skin cancer and damage vegetation. Its depletion is caused by extreme cold temperatures at high altitude and a particular type of pollution, from chemicals often used in refrigeration, some plastic foams, or aerosol sprays, which have accumulated in the atmosphere.



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