Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched in Nagaland: ‘Water has become a scarce commodity; it comes at a dear price’
Save water and it will save you; don’t let life slip down the drain, says advisor of Water Resources on World Water Day
Kohima, March 22 (EMN: Water was once considered a natural and renewal resource but it has become a scarce commodity “almost everywhere in the state” today; it is “not free anymore and bottled water, which has become a necessity, comes at a dear price”, lamented advisor of Water Resources, Namri Nchang on Monday.
He was speaking during the launch of Jal Shakti Abhiyan – II, the Jal Shakti ministry’s flagship water-conservation campaign dubbed “Catch the rain where it falls, when it falls,” on the occasion of World Water Day at the chief engineer’s office, Water Resources department in Kohima.
Informing that Jal Shakti Abhiyan phase-II is a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign launched all over the country by the government of India to improve water availability, Nchang said the programme is “relevant in our present context” owing to ‘poor distribution of rainfall, drying of ponds, wells and streams, climate change and lack of proper management of available water’.
He stated that climate change disrupts the water cycle and precipitation, making it unsuitable for both the living species and human to consume due to degradation of its sources like rivers, lakes, ground water basin and others.
“Change in climate exacerbates water challenges, leading to insufficient water for people and environment, which situates a grave challenge to both,” he stressed.
While informing that state like Nagaland depends on monsoon-fed water sources like streams, rivulets, springs and ponds, he said water quality in these sources has depleted due to various reasons like deforestation, jhum cultivation and other biotic interventions. “Increased deforestation has also affected the water retention capacity, resulting in increased surface runoffs,” he added.
‘Poor water resource management, poor distribution system of domestic water, rampant deforestation and poor storage facility compounds the problem of decreasing availability of water resources in the state,’ Nchang said, while stressing on the growing need to improve the use of water.
He said that the citizens should be sensitised at all cost about the need for judicious use of water through mass media and other modes of communication. He also stressed on the need to encourage waste reduction through involvement of local authorities.
“Efforts should be made to fully utilise and store rainwater in all probable storage sites,” he said.
‘To meet various purposes, runoff water from the catchment areas into rivers and streams can be blocked and diverted to water harvesting structures,’ he stated while suggesting measures like erection of rainwater harvesting structures to tape rainwater from rooftops, construction of farm ponds for storage of monsoon runoff and recharging of ground water to be adopted.
“Water is the elixir of life and the need to harness the available water and its proper management has become a top priority,” he stated.
“Water conservation is not to stop or prevent the use of water but to maximise its use efficiency,” he added, while calling upon all stakeholder departments to come up with planned programmes and activities to ensure that water resources are utilised in a sustainable manner, and ensure that water is equitably shared and wastage is minimised by all users.
“Save water and it will save you; don’t let life slip down the drain,” he said, adding, “Saving water doesn’t only help in conserving water, but it is a weapon to tackle the negative impact of change. Conserve water, save life.”
While presenting an overview of Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Chief Engineer of Water Resources department, Hotovi Ayemi stated that the ministry of Jal Shakti launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan in 2019 with a target of covering 1592 blocks out of 2836 blocks of 256 water-stressed districts across the country.
Encouraged by the success of Jal Shakti Abhiyan —I, he said the ministry decided to launch the phase-II and National Water Mission will be the nodal agency for this campaign which commenced on March 22 and will conclude on November 30, 2021.
Ayemi informed that the ministry has involved Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangthan (NYKS) under the department of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for undertaking the awareness campaign to cover 31,150 villages in 623 districts and that NYKS will undertake this awareness campaign through various activities which will include conducting educational and motivational programmes, mass awareness campaigns, wall writing, banners and e-posters, knowledge competitions, demonstration activities like theme-based nataks (dramas) and skits etc.
Besides undertaking these activities, the engineer mentioned that NYKS will also seek support from the district authorities in setting up Jal Shakti Kendra in each district, enumeration of water bodies, cross-checking the same with revenue records, identification and classification of all encroachments as permanent or temporary, removal of temporary encroachments, ensuring rooftop rainwater harvesting structures in all government buildings, tree plantations, rejuvenation of rivers, lakes, streams etc., and GIS mapping of all existing water bodies.
He went on to say that the main aim of the movement is to nudge all stakeholders to adopt proper rainwater harvesting measures with people’s active participation and to spread awareness among the citizens about the need of water conservation.