When the ‘water man’ from Rajasthan explained his 27 years of work which revived seven rivers in the State, the audience listened in rapt attention.
Rajendra Singh, Magsaysay award-winning water conservationist, expressed dismay at the State’s cry for water despite being ‘endowed by two monsoons and many rivers.’
The audience was amused as he showed pictures of rivers and lush greenery in different parts of Rajasthan which were arid a quarter century ago.
Science of aquifers
One needed to know the sense of flow and the science of aquifers before adopting water conservation methods, he told a national seminar on ‘Comprehensive water conservation for water-rich Kannur’ organised by the district administration and the Kannur Water Conservation Society here on Sunday.
Know the earth, its curves, and soil and water flow before setting out to conserve water, Mr. Singh said. The balance between the subsurface, the underground, and deep underground should be maintained, he said.
A decentralised, community-driven water management system would pay, he said urging people’s representatives and the administration to extend support to such initiatives.
Stating the case of Neembi village in Jaipur district, Mr. Singh said the once-dry region, which had seen the migration of its population to other towns for survival, had attained water self-sufficiency. Putting an end to over-exploitation of natural resources, and encroachment and pollution would make a difference, he said.
The approach could be the same in States such as Rajasthan and Kerala with different geographical spreads, while technology and engineering could be different, he observed.
The Water Literacy Movement (WLM), propounded by a group of conservationists at a convention in New Delhi recently, should get its start here, Mr. Singh said. Speaking to The Hindu, he said protection of wells in the State was a recommendable conservation method as also protection of its rivers and other water bodies.
The geo-cultural diversity should be respected, he said adding that the WLM would have its team in each State to bring conservationists and politicians together, he added.