With the growing water crisis and Covid-19 pandemic around the world, it is definitely time to rethink the value of water and how we can efficiently manage it.
While access to safe drinking water for all should be the norm, 2.2 billion people around the world are struggling to get clean water.
Valuing water needs to begin at its source, through its distribution as well as usage and finally on how it is treated and reused. An accurate appraisal and overhaul of water policies, infrastructure and processes will also go a long way in emphasising the need for conservation and efficiency.
The 6th of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals drawn up by the United Nations (UN) stresses the need to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
C40 is another global initiative. It is a one-of-a-kind movement that calls upon mayors, who represent 97 participating cities and around 700+ million residents, to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive sustainable action on climate change.
Its project on ‘Water Secure Cities’ has already begun delivering results. There is active participation in C40 by five Indian cities as well — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai.
When governments back water policies with reliable processes and technologies, they can strengthen their immediate as well as long term water security. Both Germany and Denmark have taken impressive strides on wastewater resuse.
India being among the most populous countries, represents an epicentre for both the ensuing crisis and the active efforts seeking to turn the tide. How the water crisis is handled in India will go a long way in determining the endgame for eradicating global water insecurity.
It is heartening to see that India has a slew of campaigns to address this issue. The Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a step in the right direction. The country has also been collaborating with international initiatives to find the best sustainable solutions. India has inked a strategic partnership with Denmark for creating a green and sustainable future focussed on water, energy and the environment. This partnership apart from creating a green and sustainable future will also boost job creation, innovation and investments.
Depleting water table
Another major point of worry in urban areas is the depleting water table and overall water loss through distribution networks. Globally, we are losing an average of 30 per cent of all pumped fresh water — and cities are losing up to 60 per cent of all pumped water due to poor water networks. Cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, also see an alarming loss of up to 40 per cent of water pumped, leading to immense pressure on their water source, usually the groundwater table.
Many distribution networks struggle with excessive water waste, high operational costs and high energy consumption. The ideal solution can be a pressure management system that adjusts and maintains the pressure in the system intelligently according to demand, resulting in minimised water losses, reduced energy consumption and minimised operational costs without reducing comfort at the end user. Such solutions can greatly relieve pressure on natural water resources by efficiently managing and conserving the water in supply.
The value of having clean water bodies like lakes, ponds and rivers is immense. However, a majority of these water sources have fallen into disarray. Globally there is a growing movement to restore these water bodies.
Governments, civil society and corporates must join hands to build a strong and sustainable approach to managing water efficiently.
The writer is CEO, Grundfos