Agra, March 22 (IANS) Social activists and environmentalists gathered here Friday to deliberate on the ways to save dwindling sources of freshwater on the occasion of World Water Day.
“Neither the centre nor the states have any long-term policy to address the explosive issue that concerns just about everyone in the country. Without water, how will life survive?” said activist Anil Prakash, who has been campaigning in Bihar to save rivers.
He also pointed out that excessive use of chemical fertilisers that require more water input to achieve high yields of crops was one of the factors causing water scarcity.
“Everybody has the right of access to nature’s bounties like water and air. Unfortunately in our country, the privileged are not conscious of the imminent problems relating to ecology, specifically the use of water,” senior journalist Arun Kumar Tripathi said.
Citing the World Watch Institute’s recent report, Shravan Kumar Singh, vice president of Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, said: “At the global level, 70 percent of water is withdrawn for agricultural, 11 percent to meet municipal demands, and 19 percent for industrial needs.”
Activist Chandra Kant Tripathi warned that climate change would adversely affect global water resources at various levels. “Efforts must be made to follow an integrated water resource management approach,” he said.
The activists called for strict laws to regulate exploitation of underground water and recycle it as much as possible. They also said that agricultural practices be changed and farmers be persuaded to adopt techniques like drip irrigation.