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Water Conservation and Management in India
Water is a renewable resource; however, due to improper recycling and wasteful use, it has become a scarce resource in many parts of the country. Water conservation encompasses the policies, strategies and activities to manage freshwater as a sustainable resource, to protect the water level and quality so as to meet current and future demand. Population, household size and affluence affect how much water is used.
Variation in seasonal and annual rainfall, over-exploitation, excessive use and unequal access to water among different social groups stress on the need for water conservation in India. There is a plethora of water conservation in the country. The primary method is building dams. Our ancient texts and epics give a good insight into the water storage and water conservation.
We are continuing this tradition by constructing dams on most of our rivers. Initially, dams were built to just store the rainwater and later use it for irrigation, but now these dams solve many problem-is and help in flood control, soil conservation, generation of hydro-electric power etc. This is the reason why Jawahar Lal Nehru proudly proclaimed these multi-purpose projects or dams as `temples of modern India’. India is home to many dams like Bhakra Nangal dam on river Sutlej, Narmada Valley on river Narmada etc.
Another way of water conservation is rainwater harvesting. Water harvesting is considered the best method to save water because it is cheap, environment-friendly and can be easily practised by individuals. Traditional rainwater harvesting techniques in the country are roof water-harvesting, the building of artificial wells etc. This harvested water is used for many purposes like watering plants, irrigation, washing clothes etc.
Another very significant step that the authorities take to conserve and manage water is to treat water and recycle it. As water pollution and contamination are high due to the dumping of industrial waste into water bodies and people bathing, washing clothes, etc in rivers, it has become essential to scientifically clean water to make it fit for drinking and other purposes.
Chemical processes like fluoridation, chlorination etc are adopted to chemically treat water. It is estimated that water-borne diseases cause lakhs of deaths each year. Hence people are also encouraged to purify water domestically by boiling and installing water cleaning devices at home.
Water conservation is very important considering the rate at which it is used. We should not rely on authorities every time for the same but as responsible citizens, we should also do our part by rooftop rainwater harvesting and minimising the wastage of water. Some other simple steps could be to use buckets in place of the shower for bathing, closing taps when not in use, avoid or stop throwing away water unnecessarily etc. These seemingly little but immensely significant steps will not only help the present generation but generations to come.