PANJIM: As Chief Minister Pramod Sawant emphasises on rainwater harvesting and water conservation, environmentalists want him to implement his predecessor (late) Manohar Parrikar’s promise to rejuvenate the groundwater table.
Water conservationists and green activists list the following measures, which they feel needs immediate attention: recycling of water by the industrial units, rejuvenating the polluted water bodies, recycling of grey water in urban areas to reduce the use of freshly treated water, plugging of 35 per cent of non revenue water by PWD, regulating and optimising water for irrigation purposes.
Recently, CM Sawant stressed on rainwater harvesting and water conservation as the thrust areas for his government, in his maiden presentation before the NITI Aayog.
The State has decided to construct at least 200-300 check dams within a year and also to use abandoned mining pits for rainwater harvesting.
Environmentalist Sachin Tendulkar, who works as senior programme manager for Mineral Foundation of Goa, said that quantity and quality of water is a matter of concern, especially in view of water security for the future of Goa.
He recalled that a 15-year-perspective plan pegged at Rs 150 crores, is lying in cold storage with the Department of Agriculture for the past 3 years. “A mention about the project was made by former Chief Minister (late) Manohar Parrikar in the budget speech in 2011,” said Tendulkar.
He further pointed out that this needs to be revived by way of coordinating efforts of the Forest Department and Rural Development Department. “There is also a need to coordinate the efforts of the Pollution Control Board, Public Works Department and Water Resources Department to prevent more pollution of the already polluted water bodies,” he added.
Tendulkar added that the plan should be demonstrated in the mining talukas of Goa by adopting one panchayat each under participative rainwater harvesting through the District Mineral Fund.
“The mining pit water should be equitably distributed in its place of origin to first take care of local and then feed to cities,” he added.
Renowned environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar said CM's intervention has come at the right time as Goa might face a water crisis if Karnataka diverts the water from Mhadei as per the order of the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal.
He said that the efforts should be focused towards recycling the water, especially by industrial or commercial units, who draw water from the rivers in an uncontrolled fashion.
“Rainwater harvesting should be made mandatory for all the industrial units so that they can meet their own requirement of water, at least for few months rather than relying on the government,” he said, adding that the government should work on an implementable action plan for conserving the existing lakes and wells in the State.