Face-to-face programme on rejuvenation of water bodies in Tiruchi

Every citizen can contribute towards conserving water and give back something to Nature, Vanitha Mohan, managing trustee of Siruthuli, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to protect water, said here on Tuesday.

“Begin your endeavour towards this at home,” she urged the public of Tiruchi. “The government or the corporation alone cannot do everything and it is you – the individual – who plays a crucial role,” she added.

Speaking at the face-to-face programme, organised by Inner Wheel Club of Tiruchi Malaikottai and Inner Wheel of Club of Tiruchirapalli, on ‘rejuvenation of water bodies in Tiruchi’, she pointed out that though 75 per cent of the planet is water, only one per cent is potable .” Of that, 70 per cent goes to irrigation and 22 per cent to industry.

Thus only 0.08 per cent is available for drinking.”

She posed an important question haunting administrators and planners – are moving towards an era of thirst?

Heading the NGO with its headquarters in Coimbatore, she explained the predicament of the “Manchester of South India” which faced water scarcity during the beginning of this century.

“As we were pushed to the wall, we decided to take on the challenges despite a lot of discouragement and thus Siruthuli was born, meaning a small drop. Every drop conserved could mean a lot.”

Outlining the major objectives of Siruthli, she said it focused on water resources management, afforestation, waste management, and creating awareness among citizens lest the programme would fall on its face.

She explained how removal of encroachments and demarcation of embankments of water sources played a crucial role. Besides, by removing silt from tanks, Siruthuli could reclaim as much as 230 million cubic feet of water, she added.

Terming tanks important, she spoke on the importance of rejuvenating them. Besides removing silt from anicuts, creating new water bodies would also be required.

By going in for a watershed development project, she said every drop of rainwater could be saved.

By constructing rain water harvesting (RWH) structures, she was certain a substantial amount of water could be saved. For instance, she said 100 mm rainfall on one hectare could help harvest one million litres of water.

She outlined the salient features of an aquifer atlas and said they had proved to be a boon in Coimbatore. “The groundwater level which was 150 ft in May 2005 improved to touch 40 ft in May 2012.”

Several areas where water level was below 150 ft in 2003-04 saw the level rise to 20 to 50 ft in 2012, she added.

Underlining the need for afforestation, she said a large number of children suffered because of air pollution and trees would prove to be “lungs of life”.

Hence, Siruthuli’s “pasumai payanam” aimed at planting 1.50 million saplings and so far 0.3 million have been planted. Its latest programme is “growing green lungs for the city (urban forests).” She outlined how her organisation had launched a major drive in this regard including a special programme for children under the title “Sittukkaludan Siruthuli”.

Under the programme, a number of schoolchildren are enlightened about these issues every Friday .

Ms.Mohan dwelt at length on the importance of utilising biodegradable waste generated at home to raise kitchen gardens. While no biodegradable waste should be allowed to go out of one’s home, she stressed the need for rejecting plastics.

Corporation Commissioner V.P.Thandapani spoke on the threat of dengue and how it could be averted if women could avoid keeping fresh water containers open.

Kalaimani Arunn, president, Inner Wheel Club of Malaikottai, presided.