Recommendations - IX World Aqua Congress

  1. 1. Traditional water conservation structures like kuains, kunds, tanks, baoris, talaabs – have been the lifelines of societies. They have withstood the test of time and change to become symbolic of the philosophy that not only links the past to the present but also harbours the potential to make the future like the past. Their conservation, restoration and use needs to become an important part of water policy.
  2. 2. Aquifers present best option to store water. Traditional systems were founded around the concept of saving and storing each rain drop, to be used in dry season. Most of traditional water system were based on surface water and shallow groundwater as deep drilling technology was not available at that time. Due to drilling based water exploration and multi-fold increase in consumption, most of the shallow/phreatic aquifer have been over-exploited which resulted in non functioning of traditional system as well as reduced discharge/base flow to rivers. Only mega recharge to groundwater and conservation projects can revive the traditional water system as well as help in rejuvenation of Rivers. Understanding the aquifers is of paramount importance in this direction, and hence nation wide aquifer mapping should be carried out, resulting in development of comprehensive ground water models. Further planning of recharge and exploration should be strictly based on such advanced models. Latest technologies like airborne/ heliborne geophysics can aid in rapid mapping of aquifer systems.
  3. 3. Deteriorating conditions and maintenance of TWHS (Traditional Water Harvesting Structures) are mostly due to: (a) failure to take proper measures, and to manage vulnerability by ad hoc approaches; and (b) Lack of honesty, transparency, trust, patience, tolerance, and coordination among public, departments, regulators, etc.. Since, the TWHS impacts reported are mainly based on qualitative analysis, secondary information collected from beneficiaries; for revival of TWHS and in order to make TWH relevant and meaningful to present, justice to TWHS would be done if the following recommendations are strictly implemented:
    1. a. Introspect Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities of TWHS. When, Where, Why, & How things started going wrong? Why could the TWHS deteriorating trends not be changed/ reversed/ delayed?
    2. b. Improve maintenance of TWHS taking proper measures, and managing vulnerability by transparency, honesty, trust, patience, tolerance, and coordination among departments, regulators, public, etc.. Address institutional, organizational and legal problems.
    3. c. Regulate encroachments on water bodies, and local power relations among different social groups, which causes interrupted water flows to TWHS. Check polarization of people on social and political fronts with narrow mindset, and parochial self-interest.
    4. d. Assess the exact causes of reduction in Storage capacity and Percolation rates of tanks, percolation ponds, etc. Reduction in rates may be due to both siltation and sludge deposition from wastes surreptitiously disposed in some water bodies.
    5. e. Have in-depth understanding of the adverse impacts when GW table fall/rise rate exceeds ecosystem adaptability.
    6. f. Pay attention adequately for careful positioning of TWHS (including Johads, Tanks, Check dams). Assess the challenge in identifying locations having surface and subsurface conditions amenable to recharge.
    7. g. Remap & Analyze: Geology, topography, land contours, Hydrologic System, streams & rivers flows, C-B, and risks, by ancient, local and organized knowledge of S&T.
    8. h. Disseminate: Information to all stakeholders (incl. politicians, policy-makers, public, media persons,) to promote ethical, cultural, & social values, to change mindsets.
    9. i. Educate: All for harmony by trust, share of responsibility, knowledge, transparency, interests, etc… to enhance efficiency, and efforts by competent, capable transparent institutions, restricting involvement of unscrupulous corrupt practices, politically or economically greed driven, for self-interests, private gain before public welfare.
    10. j. Control Diversion of attention by mass media with half-baked information, by purposeful propaganda, obfuscation and generic opinions by opinion-makers, environmentalists, activists, NGOs, etc.. Unfortunately, 'society' mostly is getting misguided by information that floods through newspaper, media etc., with some half-baked concern, as if, only some activists environmentalists have development concern.
    11. k. Stop Advertisements with huge payment using role models for public (some actor or actress of the time or cricketer or celebrity or someone alike them) even if they have no or limited knowledge on water related issues.
    12. l. Raise: Public awareness on ‘Geo-ethics’, complementarity and interconnection of Natural System and Human System. Give opportunity and Encouragement to Geoscientists to play important role to project properly much of the good work done and the achievements of the water resources professionals, who have been silently working for long for the betterment of the society, and make believable to the society.
  4. 4. It has been found that the Rain Water recharge wells/ bore shafts are either difficult to maintain or have been found to be severely inadequate in capacity and thus there is substantial volume of storm water runoff on the roads.We recommend construction of under drained swales along the roads, with construction waste in the rural and semi urban areas, thus the low lying villages and unplanned colonies can have twin benefits, one the construction waste will not be dumped in natural storm water evacuation channels, two, some seepage zones can be created to offer buffer zones when storm waters reach their periphery. In the city scape, we recommend use of infiltration basins under bio swales that will require less surface area but will create the detention capacity underground. The shortfall in soak basins, therefore, can be augmented by creating Infiltration basins along the road using bio-swales, gravel pathways, porous payments etc.
  5. 5. Rivers are lifeline of any civilization. Regulatory mechanism should operate more efficiently to stop pollutants entering the river waters. Religious and spiritual groups should be used to influence people to desist them from dumping waste in rivers.
  6. 6. A help-line should be setup enabling people report incidents of river pollution, water wastage, environment degradation and a swift action must be ensured against offenders.

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