Turn hills around city into water sanctuaries: Expert

All denizens can have pure mineral water, he says

Published - February 19, 2017 12:07 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

A way out:  Pools of water spotted during an expedition by a group of youth trekkers atop Kambalakonda in Visakhapatnam.

A way out: Pools of water spotted during an expedition by a group of youth trekkers atop Kambalakonda in Visakhapatnam.

Expert on sustainable development Vikram Soni, who is a professor emeritus at JNU and Jamia Milia, says all the denizens in the city can have pure mineral water if the ready-made hills all around like Simhachalam and Kambalakonda are explored to tap water from them.

Stating for a city like Visakhapatnam with a population of two million and an average annual rainfall of 1000 mm, the forested hills have the potential to provide 10 billion litres from the forest rock deposits and the groundwater.

“If one-third of water is used, it can provide three litres per day to all. The mineral water will be very healthy due to rich nutrients,” he told The Hindu .

The cost of laying pipelines and supplying it through vending machines or milk booths will need an investment of ₹100 crore but the income potential by selling mineral water will be ₹300 crore to ₹400 crore, he said.

Stringent regulations

Prof. Soni, who mooted declaring the hills as water sanctuaries with stringent regulations to stop concrete jungle culture, said the authorities concerned should immediately conduct a geo-hydrographic survey to examine viability of the project.

“They should identify the places where water is generated from streams and rain water is getting recharged into the ground and extract them,” he said and clarified that the mineral water he was referring to would cost ₹50 per litre and the so-called bottled water which were available in the market contained only ‘processed water’ without the nutrients.

Prof. Soni said during his visit to Simhachalam, he found that the hills had extended over nearly 20 km. Though the technology is quite popular in the United States, Australia and few other countries, in India it is yet to be explored. In New York, water is sourced from Catskill Mountains.

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