Ideas pour out on tackling water issues

By S Ben Raja Published on Feb 24, 2017 03:01 PM IST

Tamilnadu Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor K Ramaswami, inaugurating Water Today’s Water Expo 2017 in the presence of its managing director S Shanmugham, Asian International Union of Environment Commission chairman S Rajamani, and Water Today magazine editor, Naina Shah.

Chennai: With poor show by northeast monsoon last year, Chennai is heading for a fiery summer this year. Moreover, water scarcity will also be inevitable with the city witnessing over 40 per cent lesser rains than usual. Despite cyclonic storm Vardah bringing with it rainfall up to 38 cm at a few places in south Chennai, poor management along with clogged drains resulted in even that crucial spell going waste.

So, is this the end of all? No, say experts, and add that there are still ways to mitigate the effects of our past mistakes. Media and events company Water Today’s 11th edition, Water Expo 2017, in Chennai threw light on this topic.

Speaking to News Today, Tamilnadu Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor K Ramaswami, highlighted the plight of agriculture in the State.

He said, "Earlier, of the total water available in Tamilnadu, over 87 per cent was used for agriculture. But now the figure has dropped to 72 per cent. The reason is increase in consumption for other activities like industries, real estate and garbage accumulation. It’s sad to see fresh water bodies becoming a place for garbage disposal. But at this point of time, the only way to bring back the original numbers is by adopting recycled and treated water. If the government sets up water treatment plants, we can utilise waste water to irrigate lands and for gardening. The sky is the limit for it."

Ramaswami also says there are ways to segregate organic and non-organic wastes from water with newer technologies. Adding to the words of the ViceChancellor, Asian International Union of Environmental Commission and a renowned water consultant chairman S Rajamani, gave some crucial stats.

He said, "Usually, over 11 per of the water available in the country is potable. But, unfortunately, in India, only 4.5 per cent can be used for drinking purpose. Countries which can produce / extract pure drinking water will take up similar positions in the near future like fuel extracting countries of now. Drinking water is soon going to become a paid commodity with rising pollution in fresh water bodies."

"Baikal lake in Russia is the world’s deepest fresh water lake. This lake in Siberia contributes so much fresh water to the country that Russia’s 25 per cent of available water is potable. It will not be surprising if Russia becomes a super power again by selling fresh water," said Rajamani. He said many countries in Europe give incentives to industries and private bodies which conserve drinking water.

"If our State government takes all these things into consideration and drafts plans to conserve drinking water, there are high chances of mitigating water scarcity even during the dry summer months," he added.

During the event, the editor of Water Today’s magazine and a water expert, Naina Shah, gave some insights a b o u t the problems associated with the highly popular ‘reverse osmosis’ water purification system. She said such a drinking water, though free of harmful salts, lacks useful minerals. She explained that researches have proved that ceramic filters i.e traditional clay filters and sand filters, have the ability to filter out salt as sediments while keeping the minerals intact.

The expo, which ended today, witnessed the participation of leading companies in water and waste water management systems from across the world. Over 350 exhibitors , 5,000 products and more than 25,000 water experts met under one roof. The expo also saw an international conference, ‘Watman 2017’. Managing director of Water Today, S Shanmugham, was present during the event.