The Tamil Nadu Government can look at collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Coimbatore-based non-Governmental organisation Siruthuli to link rivers and conserve water resources, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said here on Saturday.

Water resources could be identified with technology from ISRO and the Government and Siruthuli could draw up a road map for the link and conservation measures, Mr. Kalam said after inaugurating “Siruthuli Peruvellam… Andrum Indrum”, an exposition on rain water harvesting organised by Siruthuli.

A public initiative for water resources conservation and rain water harvesting, Siruthuli roped in colleges and schools to display exhibits on best practices in rain water harvesting from the ancient to the modern times.

Noting that the harvesting models at the expo were impressive, Mr. Kalam said these only stressed the need to tap rain water in order to check the depletion of the ground water table.

It was time governments took up the linking of rivers on a priority to avoid water scarcity. “We must also take note of the global warming and the threat of water resources drying up,” he said.

The former President pointed out that even some decades ago none would have imagined that drinking water, which Nature provided free, would be sold in bottles and sachets. Companies made an annual turnover of Rs.10,000 crore by selling packaged drinking water, he said.

Responding to questions from school students, Mr. Kalam said “India needs energy independence. It should generate solar, wind and nuclear energy and promote bio-fuels.” The use of fossil fuel led to the emission of 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Commending Siruthuli on projects for reviving River Noyyal, the desilting of tanks and rain water harvesting in the city, Mr. Kalam administered a pledge to students on conserving water resources and promoting rain water harvesting. “Ask your parents to put up rain water harvesting structures in your houses,” he said.

Minister for Rural Industries Pongalur N. Palanisamy called for judicious use of water as cities, towns and villages faced severe scarcity. Conservation of resources, preventing pollution of these and rain water harvesting were the only options to avoid scarcity.

The Minister said the Coimbatore Corporation would soon implement a project to rejuvenate tanks in the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Coimbatore Collector P. Umanath said Siruthuli had implemented eco-friendly projects in spite of resistance from some sections. He promised the support of the Government, district administration and the local bodies in Coimbatore for the projects.

Chairman of Siruthuli S.V. Balasubramaniam and Managing Trustee Vanitha Mohan explained how the water resources conservation movement took shape in Coimbatore and how far it had progressed.