Attended a useful session organized by #refinitiv where WATER as a scarce resource and the challenges and perspectives of solving that was discussed by experienced panelists.
- Agriculture is directly using around 85 percent of the water resources and bal 15 percent is divided between industry and the people usage.
- Indirectly that agriculture output is what we and industry is using in the supply chain or food chain. So how do we collectively make the use of this 85% of ground water more sustainable and optimum?
- Time we look at the true cost of the Agri produce in terms of the resource consumption and whether we are willing to pay for it . Eg the cost at which we currently buy a vegetable would be 5-10x if actual cost of resources are considered.
- The free electricity to pump water is available is not to all the farmers. Majority of that goes into producing water guzzling crops where MSP is supported. Examples include rice, sugarcane,
- The land where they are grown is actually not suitable due to the soil and climate conditions which thus increases the water requirement.
- Those lands are more suitable for crops like Millet which is also a healthier alternative as well as water & climatically sustainable alternative . This one was my fav considering the fact that millet is also a good alternative for diabetic patients which a lot of today’s generation is prone to due to eating habits and lifestyle.
- Uncertainties in terms of vagaries of nature and it’s impact on agriculturist/ farmers needs to be looked as well. Farm loan waivers are a problem but what can we do to avoid the situation from arising only?
- The impact the water crisis in rural areas has in terms of number of lives , employment is huge considering the lives it affects directly / indirectly. How do we motivate ourselves and people around us to go and support with managing agriculture value chain on water allocation and distribution ?
- Dams although created were to act as reservoir of water in times when available in excess and to be able to manage when its availability is affected. But then there is a higher price for building dams as those are making those areas susceptible to earthquakes and other ecological imbalances.
- The saving of water by use of drip irrigation is not being done by many on account of initial cost and also on awareness issues. How can we further micro irrigation initiatives ?
- This is one part of the problem on the judicious use of available water resources. The other problem facing us all is on the availability of clean safe drinking water which is another bigger challenge. With major organized players now having water treatment systems in their industries, the same is partly addressed but the one still continuing in unorganized industries. In my view a community/cluster based treatment and disposal would help to address them.
One panelist made a very interesting point that whether our ambition to solve this is as big as the problem is. That’s a question we need to answer for ourselves and our future generation.