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Panel Discussion Water Security – Conservation and Rejuvenation

On Aug 19th we had a panel discussion on this very important topic by three experts moderated ably by our PP Rtn. K. Vijayakumar, a pioneer in hydroponics and organic farming.

Scientist A R Shivakumar  highlighted that Bangalore has the luxury of plenty of rain and so the problem is not shortage but proper water management that consists of rain water harvesting, recharging wells, reducing of wastage and recycling/reuse.

Rain, the cleanest form of water, can meet more than 50% of our needs if it is properly harvested through collection tanks and installation of recharge wells.  Kaveri water has to be piped from a long distance and can only meet 20-30% of the needs of the city. Sadly, all rivers,  including Kaveri, are also getting polluted through inflow of dirt and sewage from urban areas. At least 10% of the water can be reused through sewage treatment plants (STP) and proper filtration.

For example, water wasted through the RO filtering process can be collected and reused for mopping and cleaning, and STP water can be used for toilets. Wastage can be reduced through proper water metering, charging for excess use and sealing leakages.

The Deputy Consul of Israel, Mr Ariel, Seidman, highlighted how the arid and barren nation of Israel with minimal rain fall has become water self-sufficient. Israel has a holistic approach to the efficient use of available water. It has a stringent Water Act since 1959, declaring water as a public resource. Conservation is enforced through strict monitoring of water use and wastage is penalised. Borewells are public property and strictly regulated. Even farmers are required to pay for water and employ micro- irrigation techniques using minimum water. It has one of the biggest desalination plants converting sea water. Over 90% of household water is recycled. 

DG Sameer Hariani announced that he has taken up water conservation and sanitation as his Mission. Expert groups have been formed. He hopes to restore the environment through planting 100 crore tree saplings, Koti Nati, to celebrate 100 years of Rotary in India. Already two lakh saplings have been planted in the first month. He also hopes to rejuvenate our dying lakes. He urged all Rotarians to join hands and make water conservation and rejuvenation a grand success just as they had made polio eradication a global success.

There were lively questions from the audience.

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