Water is a very precious resource, hence all the steps should be taken to save as much water as possible. Water conservation can take place through proper water management techniques. Let us proceed to learn how to save water!
It is often seen that In many places a regular supply of water is provided by a pipe system. We have seen, sometimes when these water supply pipes leak, a large quantity of water is wasted. It is the responsibility of the civic authorities to prevent such wastage of water.
Mismanagement or wastage of water may take place at the level of individuals also.
How to save water? Here are some ways how you can avoid wastage of water.
• Use only as much water as you require
• Close the taps after use
• See that there are no leaking pipes or taps. Get a plumber to get all leaks sealed
• Don’t leave the taps running while washing clothes
• While shaving or brushing your teeth don’t leave the taps running. Open it only when you require.
• Don’t throw water left in your water bottle, pour it over some plant.
• Mop the floor instead of washing.
So, if all the above points are taken care of, one can save water on an individual level. We also can use rainwater to recharge the groundwater. This is referred to as rainwater harvesting.
Rainwater is collected on rooftops. It is then carried down to a storage tank or is directed to a percolating chamber. We should revive the old bawari system for collecting and storing water in the areas having scanty rains.
Farmers can save a lot of water by adopting drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is a technique of watering plants by making use of narrow tubing which delivers water at the base of the plant.
Effect of water scarcity on plants
Plants need water to get nutrients from the soil to prepare their food. During photosynthesis plants use carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight to produce carbohydrate.
Just imagine, what will happen if water is not available to plants? Plants will not grow. As a result, the green character of the planet shall be lost. No plants mean no food, no oxygen, not enough rain. This may lead to the end of all forms of life.
Source of Ground Water
A number of things contribute to the formation of the water table. Every time, when it rains, water trickles into the water table. Water from rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds seeps through the soil and fills the empty spaces and cracks deep below the ground. The process of seeping water into the ground is called infiltration.
The groundwater thus gets recharged by seepage of rainwater into the ground. Runoff from lakes, rivers, and streams also contributes to the formation of a water table. In some places, the groundwater is stored between the layers of hard rocks below the water table. This is known as ‘Aquifer’. Wells can be drilled into the aquifers and water can be pumped out for usage.
Worldwide 97% of the planet’s liquid freshwater is stored in aquifers. You may have seen boring being done at some construction site or in a park area where the requirement for water is quite high.
Now the question arises…Can we keep on drawing water from under the ground? How will it affect the water table?
Depletion of water table
The water table does not get affected as long as we draw as much water as is replenished by natural processes. Pumping too much water out from the ground too fast brings down the water table.
Water tables in several parts of the world have been falling rapidly due to many reasons which is also one reason we should focus on how to save water and make it available for future generations.
Factors affecting the water table are:-
• Increase in population
• Increase in industrial and agricultural activities
• Scanty rainfall
• Decrease in the effective area for seepage
• Changing lifestyle
• Uncontrolled use of bore technology
As the cities grow, the demands for the freshwater increase while the amount of water available for each person decreases. Most cities are today water-stressed unable to cope with the increasing freshwater demands of the growing urban population.
In urban areas, the construction of houses, shops, offices, roads, and footpaths has left little exposed areas like parks and playgrounds for water infiltration. Moreover, a huge amount of water is required for construction work.
Borewells are sunk to extract groundwater for this purpose. Most megacities have a water shortage because the demand for freshwater is greater than its availability. This result is depletion of the water table.
Importance of Water
The most important use of water in agriculture is for irrigation. The majority of farmers in India depend upon rains for irrigating their crops. At some places, a canal irrigation system exists. Even these systems may suffer from a lack of water due to erratic rainfall.
Farmers, therefore, have to use groundwater for irrigation. It is estimated that roughly 70% of the water used globally is for agriculture.
Do you know that:
• About 700litre of water is used to produce 1 kg of apple
• Nearly 1000kg of water is required to produce 1 kg of grain.
The increasing demand for groundwater in the agriculture sector is driving the groundwater table lower and lower. Which is a big concern for all of us !!
Industries that produce commodities such as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum use large amounts of water. A large amount of water is also used for steam production, product dilution, and cooling. Freshwater is essential for textile processing such as dyeing or bleaching.
Semiconductor manufacturing industries use billions of liters of ultra-pure water for cleaning and rinsing, in the production of silicon chips. As the number of industries is increasing continuously, so is the demand for freshwater. Hence, as a result, Growing industrial activity is responsible for the depletion of the water table.