Water Wisdom During a Pandemic


  • More than any previous year, there was recognition of the importance of water in hand washing and personal hygiene practices due to the coronavirus transmission.
  • World Water Day was observed on March 22, with the theme of “Water and Climate Change” and its broader aim is to raise awareness on the importance of freshwater and advocate for its sustainable management.

Water and Climate Change:

  • Water is the primary medium through which climate change impacts trickle down to the community and individual levels, primarily through reduced predictability of water availability.
  • More broadly, climate change and water are inextricably linked. Growing populations and their demand for water increases the need for energy-intensive water pumping, transportation, and treatment.
  • It contributes to the degradation of critical water-dependent carbon sinks such as peatlands.
  • Due to climate change, water cycles experience significant change, which reflects in water availability and quality.
  • A warmer climate causes more water to evaporate from both land and oceans; in turn, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water, roughly 4% more water for every 1ºF rise in temperature

Extreme Weather Events

  • Climate change are expected to lead to negative consequences in the water sector, with increased precipitation and run-off (flooding) in certain areas and less precipitation and longer and more severe scarcity of water (droughts) in other areas.
  • This influences almost all aspects of the economy including drinking water, sanitation, health, food production, energy generation, industrial manufacturing, and environmental sustainability and ultimately the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • In coastal areas when more freshwater is removed from rivers and aquifers, saltwater will move farther upstream into the river mouth and the aquifer, which will put pressure on the limited freshwater available on the coast, forcing water managers to seek costly alternatives like desalination plants.
  • Water is a common pool natural resource that sustains ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, economies, and society; hence, its judicious use with balancing multiple water needs is significant
  • In developing countries like India, a large population depends on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, fisheries and forestry for its livelihoods.

Mitigation Strategies:

  • India has come up with climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and appropriate policy measures.
  • The government is implementing the ‘National Action Plan on Climate Change’ through Eight National Missions, including the Water Mission.
  • However, effective policies need the support of the local governments, corporates and NGOs.
  • Water resources planning must be given due consideration while dealing with climate impacts.
  • As tanks and ponds can store and recharge the excess rainwater to the aquifer, their rejuvenation (desilting) facilitates flood and drought management.
  • We need to revisit our rich tradition and culture of water wisdom in water Resources Management.
  • More public awareness on the need for climate-resilient actions, Including protecting carbon sinks like oceans, wetlands, peatlands, and mangroves.
  • Adopting Climate-Smart Agricultural Techniques, Rainwater Harvesting, Waste-Water reuse, and judicious use of water, should be Generated and inculcated in Each Citizen.

Source: The Hindu

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