FOR SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT P.J.S. BHAMRAH, Regional Director, Ministry of Water Ressources, India
I.- Introduction Water is the most precious gift of the nature. It is essential for sustenance of life, next only to air and is one of most important component which influences economic, agricultural and industrial growth of mankind. It is most widely distributed resource of the Earth and most commonly used commodity. The ancient civilisation had flourished mainly along perennial surface water sources, i.e. stream and rive. Improper management of water resources had wiped out civilizations. For human body, water is critical in maintaining uniform body temperatures. We possess a large volume of water in our bodies, it is about 75%, without which we would warm up or cool down much more rapidly than we do. An average man needs 1.4 kg food and 2.25 kg air everyday to survive. To grow one ton of foodgrain requires 1000 tons of water and one ton of rice need 2000 tons of water. Water is not eternally pure and inexhaustible gift of God. The fresh/potable water, although renewable, is very limited and vulnerable resource. There is growing shortage of usable water resources and it is going to be one of the major issues of the twenty first century. The world Bank has predicted that the wars of next century will be fought over water and not for oil, lead and politics. With the added dimensions of quality of water, the scenario of availability of good quality water all over the World. has become really grim. We need to apprehend that we are heading towards a catastrophe with no way of turning back. We should overcome this inevitable catastrophic syndrome by developing a strategy with water security including management, conservation and channelling from places, where it is plentiful to others where it is deficient and scarce. Advances in technology have resulted in enormous increase in ground water extraction World over thereby disturbing natural water balance. A time has come to change the present concept of 'Water Supply Management' to 'Water Demand Management". An efficient management of water resources should be our main thrust for economic development.