Water is a natural resource that forms the basic ingredient of all organisms and creatures on Earth. Humans need clean and safe water as it is vital for the body that contains around 60% water. We know that almost 70% of planet Earth’s surface is water bodies-Ocean, Sea, River, lakes but there are cities and countries where water scarcity is still at an alarming level. The reasons for this can be varied. With the infrastructure development around the world, we forgot that maintaining an ecological balance is equally important. Humans destroyed forest cover for building roads, factories and infrastructure. Far-off areas where water pipeline distribution is not available were dependent on underground water. Over the years of excess deforestation, the water level has reduced making the life of people living in unconnected villages very difficult who travel a long distance to collect this vital resource. This life giving resource can be saved in a number of ways for reuse.
Rainwater harvesting is a technique of collecting rain water and storing it in a man-made tank for reuse. The most common way is rooftop harvesting where the rain water is intercepted and collected into tanks situated on the ground floor. This water can then be filtered and reused as drinking-water or for irrigation purposes. Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to make rainwater harvesting mandatory. It makes a lot of sense when the underground water in a coastal metro city like Chennai is saline. The large temple tanks in Tamil Nadu built centuries back by Kings served this purpose quite well. At several cities bordering major rivers in India, the groundwater is contaminated with arsenic and fluoride. Local government is now planning to make rainwater harvesting mandatory in such areas as well.
Ancient Ways to Store Water
Around five centuries back in the Indian city Jabalpur, Rani Durgawati had ordered her administration to build several artificial lakes after many people and livestock died due to severe drought. Centuries ago people had devised different ways to tackle the scarcity of water in their cities throughout the year by building artificial lakes, tanks and step wells. The concept of rainwater harvesting has evolved from such examples in the history.
As per a recent report, a government run primary school in a village in Chhattisgarh adopted this technique. As a result, clean drinking water was available for the students at the premises and this reduced the school dropouts.
In Karnataka, the government’s “Krishi Bhagya” scheme is quite successful. The government gives subsidy to farmers to build water storage ponds for irrigational purposes, hence, making them less dependent on canal water. Similarly, the government of Rajasthan has started “Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan” – its flagship programme for water conservation by using scientific tools to rejuvenate traditional water bodies. The aim of the government is to make each and every village in the state self-reliant in water for domestic and irrigational use as well. “Anicut” is a small structure that is made in a stream to maintain and regulate the flow of water for the irrigational purpose. Using the funds under this scheme, the government has built Anicuts to divert the water stream to villages that had little water resources. The government has sought help from the Green Climate Fund as the cost involved in constructing such structures is quite high.
Water is still a limited resource in several areas across the world but by implementing techniques like rainwater harvesting and innovative government schemes the scarcity for this vital resource can be routed out.