• Groundwater levels have dried up to such an extent that now water crisis is no longer a problem ‘out there’, but has come knocking at our doors.
  • Apartments have almost run out of water, and with there being no rains till now, the situation seems grim.
  • There are NGOs, citizen initiatives, lake restoration groups, and individuals that have affected changes in their respective fields.
  • Cities like Bengaluru should learn to manage their fresh water needs through local resources instead of demanding the same from distant places, such as from various phases of Kaveri river and proposals such as the one to bring water from Linganamakki reservoir in Western Ghats over a distance of 400 km and against a gravity of over 1,000 feet.
  • Sustainable water management steps include effective rain water harvesting, widespread ground water recharging steps, responsible and efficient management of available water sources, among others.
  • The average rainfall in Bengaluru is considered enormous from the state’s average rainfall context, and if managed effectively and responsibly, can make the city self-sufficient.
  • The official loss figure of about 45% in the city’s water reticulation system should be the most important indicator in this regard, which can only reveal the enormous potential available to make the city self reliant, instead of allowing it to experience a slow decay by continuing to be a drain on the natural resources of the Western Ghats.”
  • The economic growth paradigm of the state must be objectively taken into consideration, including the stark geographical constraints such as 73% of the land being arid/semi-arid and 53% of the land being drought prone
  • Demand on wood, water, energy, construction materials, food articles etc. need to be managed sustainably and by locally available resources as far as possible, but it is not the case at present.
  • Conserving forests is essential to solve the water crisis.
  • Forests allow rain water to percolate to the ground and act as a sponge to hold the excess water during monsoon and then feed streams and rivers continuously during the remaining months.
  • But we have continued to abuse our forests so much that now there is less than 20 % of green cover in the state as against the national forest policy target of 33% of the land area to be covered by forest and trees.
  • The percentage of natural and dense forest cover may not be much more than 10%.
  • The Western Ghats is in serious threat because of flawed Government policies, he argues
  • In the last 20 to 30 years, the number of linear projects in the Western Ghats, needing the large scale felling of trees, has been increasing
  • Ongoing projects can lead to the felling of more than 30 lakh mature trees, which in turn will lead to massive loss of biodiversity including herbs and shrubs and smaller animals
  • “The legitimate need for so many linear projects should be diligently reviewed through costs and benefits analysis, options analysis and through effective discussion with the concerned stakeholder groups.
  • The government should focus on other suitable economic activities which will demand minimum amount of water, land, materials and energy, and which will generate least amount of wastes/pollutants.
  • Instead, natural forestry, massive scales of agro-forestry, agriculture /horticulture / dairy based industries, knowledge based activities such as education/health care etc, can be increased.