Winter rain is a respite, but groundwater conservation is a must: CWRDM scientist

Rain water harvesting
Rain water harvesting and well recharging are prominent methods of water conservation in Kerala. Image courtesy: Anna Nikonorova / Shutterstock

Pollution has been considerate to no realms on earth. The state of groundwater is no different. It's a major source of life, which, besides showing a depletion over the past many years, is increasingly impacted by the devastating effects of pollution.

Talking to Onmanorama, Dr. C P Priju, Scientist, Hydrology and Climatology Research Group, CWRDM, appeared euphoric about the unusual winter rains Kerala has been receiving in recent times, but he is apprehensive about the receding groundwater table and urged about the need for water conservation.

"The winter rain is a respite. This can keep the reservoirs live and rejuvenate the underground water table," says Dr, Priju, "but it's imperative that people at large should be aware of the need to conserve water as climate is becoming unpredictable and seasons are becoming harsher."

There are various methods for water conservation, and the most prominent among them are rain water harvesting and well recharging. Storing water in tanks for reuse is another method for water conservation. "In Kerala, people mostly make use of drinking water for almost all the other purposes like washing clothes, cleaning utensils, watering plants and so on. But, it should become a habit to store reusable water for needs other than drinking and cooking," Priju says.

It's advisable to keep water conservation in mind during the construction of a building itself. It's a trend to use polythene sheets to spread the gravels as part of beautification of the courtyard and surroundings of a house. This prevents rain water from seeping into the ground and instead let it stream away and join a major water body.

Besides, if the polythene sheets are soft and thin the nano grains of plastic or pellets, which break off from it in due course may get mixed up with the groundwater. Since the households in Kerala predominantly use well as the main source of water, the plastic contents can contaminate it and may lead to diseases.

Also, laying tiles in the courtyard and the surroundings is an architectural fad. Instead of laying tiles, which completely cover the ground, it is better to use interlocking tiles leaving gaps to let the rain water down into the soil.

People can also create bio-walls by planting bamboo etc. to block rain water in the yards from flowing away, he says.

In coastal areas, people can make use of hard water after testing its safety by measuring the PH level. The testing instruments can be procured from labs at the community level for the purpose, Priju says.

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