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Technology or ecology’, what’s best for water conservation?

A right mix of both is important, said experts from different walks of life at GeoSmart India.

On Wednesday, the second day of GeoSmart India, the most anticipated event of the year for the Indian Geospatial community, the importance of water conservation was highlighted and reiterated through a power-packed plenary.

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“I wouldn’t say there is water shortage — there is enough water in the oceans, but that water isn’t clean to drink. So yes, there is shortage of water in that sense. For water conservation, it is very important to work on two things: monitoring groundwater and managing surface water,” said DR. S.K. Singh, Director, Geodetic and Research Branch of Survey of India

Gravity plays a crucial role for monitoring groundwater, and hence gravity has to be measured routinely, added Dr. Sing, while elaborating on SOI’s projects focused at water conservation. From Cape Town to Michigan, Chennai to Anhui, there is a massive water crisis almost everywhere in the world. 

The bright side

The picture isn’t all bleak. A lot of work has been done in making clean drinking water accessible to over 2.5 billion people in developing countries from 1990 to 2015. But still, there are many challenges. Nearly 850 million people in the world lack access to clean water, with women and children being the worst affected — women because they often bear the burden of carrying water for their families, and children because they are vulnerable to diseases caused by dirty water.

“Trimble is delivering focused solutions to meet today’s industry challenges, and is also providing the building blocks for smart water management,” said Anand Sirohi, Director, Key Accounts and Large Projects at Trimble.

But technology or ecology. What should be the focus of developing countries, considering the paucity of resources. “I think both. Talking from the technology perspective, I can tell you that it can play a very important role in water conservation, treatment and management,” said Siva Ravada, Senior Director, Software Development, Oracle.

The India story

During the discussion, the experts felt that the advent of new technologies for water treatment, management and conservation provide an opportunity to take this crisis head-on and work towards building a smart and sustainable future. In India, water bodies such as rivers, ponds and lakes play a key role in maintaining and restoring the ecological balance. They act as sources of drinking water, recharge groundwater, control floods, support biodiversity, and provide livelihood opportunities to a large number of people.

Currently, India is witnessing a major water crisis and nearly 100 million people are facing severe water shortage. Further, many major cities are facing an acute water shortage. The situation is only going to worsen, as United Nations and Niti Aayog reports say that the demand for water will reach twice the available supply, and 40 per cent of India’s population will not have access to clean drinking water by 2030.

Innovative solutions

The day’s proceedings also saw a discussion around Integrated Water Resource Management, a framework designed to improve the management of water resources based on four key principles adopted at the 1992 Dublin Conference on Water and the Rio de Janeiro Summit on Sustainable Development.

“Combining social awareness with technology solutions is the key to effective Integrated Water Resource Management,” said Sanjay Marwaha, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board.

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