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Tag: india

A parched Karnataka

It will be a tough dry season ahead for large parts of Karnataka, in southern India. A hundred and thirty-five taluks have received less rainfall than normal, classifying them officially as “drought-hit.” Most of these areas are primarily agrarian and crop losses are yet to be estimated.

The failure of monsoon rains is said to be the worst in forty years.

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Digging up fossil-water

Digging up fossil-water is dangerous water-strategy. NASA & reports from IWMI have sounded out loud on India’s disproportionate dependence on groundwater, using satellite data to mark water-stressed parts of India. We are the world’s largest user of fossil-water (China which comes second uses only half the amount of groundwater we use), using about a quarter of the of the global total, says a World bank report cited in this Times of India article, Can Groundwater Use Be Charged?

There are nearly 5 lakh illegal borewells in just the national capital for extracting groundwater. A National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) study says almost 16% of Delhi’s urban households and 30% of its rural ones don’t have sufficient drinking water throughout the year.

The court passed the order on a PIL filed by Ramesh Ailwadi seeking a direction to governments to price the groundwater resource as is done in the case of water being supplied by local authorities.

“Undergroundwater forms part of natural resources and of which government is the guardian and has the responsibility to ensure that the same is distributed to subserve the common good. It is further the case of the petitioner that wastage of this precious resource by those who have been able to obtain groundwater installations violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition said.

 

Almost everyday, newspapers are replete with urban centers overdrawing their borewells — and most of this water goes towards construction and industry, leaving residents and the countryside thirsty.

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Of shrimp and storms and carbon sinks, of mangroves and slaves …

Mangroves are murky, beautiful worlds of shifting margins. They’re neither land nor water. Neither river nor sea. They’re everything at once, yet not any one thing at any time. And these silty fringes of green are more important in the fight against climate change than any other ecosystem.

Mangroves sequester as much as 50 times more carbon than do tropical forests of the same area.

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Where Rivers Run Black

Last year NASA released a map that should be a wakeup call for each one of us.

“You are,” it screamed across patches of warning-red spanning all of India, “consuming way more than the natural recharge rate of aquifers. Beware, your water reserves are running out.”

India extracts more groundwater than any other country in the world. Runner-up China uses just half the amount India does. Further, our water is grossly contaminated in many places — and that toxic brew is what a large percentage of our population consumes every day.

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