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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why do we need to conserve water?

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According to the National Water Policy – 1987, water is a scarce and precious resource to be developed and conserved on an integrated and environmentally sound basis. The Planning Commission of India has estimated that the annual water flow in our rivers is 1869 cubic kilometres of water out of which we can use 550cubic kilometres of water which accounts for 30 percent only. The remaining 70 percent either goes to the sea wasted or causes floods enroute. We are facing irrigation problems from thousands of years due to water logging, salting or silting. 

There is an urgent need of water conservation because of the facts mentioned below-

-Water is the most essential substance for life processes. It is essential for drinking, bathing, cooking, irrigation, industry, and for the survival of plants and animals.

-The global supply of water is uneven. Due to this, many parts of the world frequently suffer from water crisis, drought, and crop-failure.

-Most of our fresh water sources like ground water, reservoirs, rivers etc. are under increasing environmental stress. This stress on water is caused due to overuse, water pollution and degradation of ecosystems.

-According to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), some 80 countries of the world suffered from serious water- crisis up to mid-1990s.The World Water Council in its report of the year2000,   stated that the demand for water use is expected to increase by 40 per cent by the year 2020. The agriculture will require 17 per cent more water for producing food for our growing population by that time.

-About1.1 billion people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. The surface and ground water has been contaminated by toxic chemicals, wastes, and pathogens. Poor water supply and problems of water sanitation are causing the spread of many water borne diseases in many parts of Asia and Africa. Some of these diseases are- cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, eye infections, scabies, trachoma, ascariasis etc. According to a report of the UNEP, about 3 million people in Africa die due to water borne diseases.

-Dumping of toxic wastes has polluted ground water through seepage. Landfill sites too, contribute a lot in the pollution of the underground water. Secondly, the overuse and misuse of ground water is causing the depletion of water table in many parts of the country.
 
Key Words: Environmental Policy,UNEP, floods

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