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Water: Needed urgent realistic actions

Dr B K Mukhopadhyay

Water scarcity already poses a great threat before economic growth, human rights and tiol security. As per recent UN estimates around 1.2 billion people  – around 20 percent of world population – were living in areas where the limits of sustaible water use had already been reached or breached. It is high time that the issue needs to be placed high on the global agenda. In fact the world is urgently required to adapt to the reality. There is still enough water for all of us if and only if we keep it clean and share the same. In fact we face the challenge that we must make safer stores of water available to all.

Global water use may outstrip supply by 2050!!

Water recycling and finding better ways to remove salt from seawater hold the key. Population growth could cause global demand for water to outpace supply by mid-Century if current levels of consumption continue, according to a recent study. Periods of increased demand for water – often coinciding with population growth or other major demo graphic and social changes – were followed by periods of rapid innovation of new water technologies that helped end or ease any shortages. Using a delayed-feedback mathematical model that alyses historic data to help project future trends, the researchers identified a regularly recurring pattern of global water use in recent centuries. Based on this recurring pattern, researchers from Duke University predict a similar period of innovation could occur in coming decades.

It is a global phenomenon – an area where immediate adequate attention is to be paid so that the things do not go from bad to worse. It is essential for survival – more important than anything else – the most crucial factor considered from the point of view of environment protection, poverty alleviation and promote development in as much as now globally more than two and half billion people live in the most abysmal standards of hygiene and sanitation. Wastage of water and absence of regular clean water supply not only to the burgeoning metropolis but to huge rural regions also simultaneously coexists.

In India, though accessibility to drinking water has increased considerably during the last decade in particular, yet around 10 percent of the rural and urban population still does not have access to regular safe drinking water and during critical summer especially the condition goes from bad to worse in many parts of the country still. Excessive extraction of ground water to meet agriculture, industrial and domestic demands is steadily harming the rural and urban settlements.  

The immediate need is thus there to invest in reliable, proven and advanced water purification system that guarantees the public – in rural and urban areas – safe and pure drinking water at all times. Latest technology available on this score must be extensively made use of in a time bound manner to protect the human beings from getting crushed via pollution routes.

True. We are still at very early stages of awakening. A realistic approach – obviously not by holding Semirs and observance of world water day only – can mitigate the incidence. The responsibility lies equally with the Government sector as well as private sector – checking the unrestricted exploitation of ground water, encouraging planned urbanization, optimisation of use [ read Israel ], restricting the flow of effluents from industrial units to the rivers and obvious enough stricter supervision and effectively discharging the duties and responsibilities related to corporate social responsibility.

Heat is on

It is good to note that on this score Companies are coming up steadily. The company [Ecolab] – that provides their service to about 40,000 customers in more than 170 countries around the world has been bringing in positive moves – promises to maximize asset life.  There is a positive impact on process efficiency too.  Ecolab intends to further leverage lot and machine learning to enhance its proactive services to ensure water is conserved and available to both business and the communities they operate in. Hopefully the next generation 3D TRASAR technology reduces reuses and recycles water.  The technology can not only monitor the water usage at a customer’s site and alert us whenever things go out of control but can also take remedial actions based on the stress levels on the systems and can induce chemicals or reduce water usage to maximize the life of the asset as well as minimize the usage of water.

The ultimate aim of Ecolab is to bring industries to ZLD or zero liquid discharge. “Just by installing a 3D TRASAR on their cooling towers, boilers, reverse osmosis systems, waste water systems, we can bring down water consumption by almost 30 per cent.  The energy reduction would be in the range of 15 – 20 per cent.  All this does not include any recycling opportunities.  If we find recycling opportunities, we can bring down water consumption to almost 100 per cent”, claims Ecolab.

In Lieu of Conclusion

It is crystal clear that population growth would put further put strain on per capita availability of water. Efforts to enhance drinking water supply must move at a greater speed so as to cover all of the villages with adequate potable water connection / supply.

Technology, needless to say, would play the bigger role in such a context to meet people’s basic needs in a sustained manner. turally, protecting fresh water reserves, watershed development, chemical treatments following the safety norms, tackling the arsenic and fluoride contamition, among others, could give rich dividends.

The government has to come up with a new water resource strategy, since the sector needed to become more sustaible, efficient and focused on how water is used and how it reaches people. To ensure economic growth and political stability approach to water magement must be a positive, forward looking and not myopic! Let there be no water conflicts, conflicts between users and across regions. Water limits are close to being breached in several countries, while food output has to increase by up to 100 percent by 2050 to sustain a growing world population, according to the United tions. The World Bank rightly said that key problems in India’s water sector include data secrecy, competition for resources, too much focus on increasing supply and not enough on magement.

Time is ripe to extensively use lot to holistically mage water and energy usage. Further efforts must be intensified to maximize the use of technology to proactively conserve water and improve performance in water-intensive industries.  

A forward looking realistic plan has to focus:  improving data collection on the location and types of water resources, promoting water-saving farming technologies, developing sewage treatment facilities alongside water projects, and establishing a tiol monitoring body and a new legal framework for the sector. As we can’t expand in a quantitative sense, we have to expand by using our water more carefully.

The grave concern here is the fact that the total cost of environmental damage in India, as per World Bank estimates, amounts to 4.5 percent of GDP and of this 59 percent results from the health impact of water pollution!

(The Writer,  a noted Magement Economist, an intertiol Commentator on Business and Economic Affairs and Principal, Eminent College of Magement and Technology, can be reached atm.bibhas@gmail.com)

About the author

Ankur Kalita