When a drought situation arises, everyone makes a hue and cry over the absence of planning to avoid such a situation and measures to deal with it. But with the next rainfall, all forget the drought.

“In the absence of long-term planning or adoption of scientific water management methods, the State will soon be in for a severe water crisis,” scientists from the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) said.

Addressing media persons during an interactive session organised by the CWRDM on its campus at Kunnamangalam in the district on Tuesday, scientists from various departments of the centre pointed to the need for adopting a comprehensive and long-term plan, involving people, to address water-related issues faced by the State.

CWRDM executive director N.B. Narasimha Prasad said that changes in land-use practices, deforestation, mismanagement of water resources, and unscientific irrigation practices were some of the major man-made causes for water stress in the State while concentration of rainfall to certain months, undulating and steep topography, more runoff and less time for storage, highly porous and permeable subsurface material, and the seasonal nature of rivers and streams were some of the natural causes for water stress.

“An integrated approach involving various departments and increased awareness among the public about the need for adopting water-management systems are needed to overcome this situation,” said Dr. Prasad.

Scientist C.M. Sushanth, who spoke about the importance of protecting rivers, said the alarming decline in the base-flow of most of the rivers, which dried up once the surface flow fed by the seasonal rain stopped, was a major cause for concern.

“Intensive efforts to develop the greenery of the land can make a considerable difference in this regard,” said Dr. Sushanth, who maintained that rainwater harvesting needed to be given increased focus.

“As a research agency, we used to give result-oriented reports to the government on different issues related to water management, but it is for the government to implement such reports,” said Dr. Sushanth.

Scientists and heads of various departments of the CWRDM spoke during the session.