Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Water of life...


Living and working in a desert surprisingly does not cost any head ache about getting water, contrary to what one would think. On the other hand, I can still remember cursing with all my sincerity when I was staying in a place blessed with over 700 big and small rivers. Why? ..beacuse all that came out of the tap was a whistling sound!

You do not realise how precious it is when you have too much of it. And one fine day, you dont have it at all. Those who do not have any; knows its value.

Haven't men killed for it? How many wars have been fought for it?

I was surprised by what has been happening in UAE, where rain makes a guest appearance once or twice a year. Technology and need combined, has come out with a winner in this arid landscape.

Saudi Arabia's desalination plant forms approximately 25 % of world's total capacity and its Jubail desalination plant produces 300 million cubic meters of water per annum.

That's about desalination, for those who can afford it. What else could be done for countries who are yet to understand that they are in for rude surprises from nature? Countries who seem to do less because they seem to care less?

Recycling: Such water is most commonly used for nonpotable (not for drinking) purposes, such as agriculture, landscape, public parks, golf courses etc. It is also used for cooling water for power plants and oil refineries, industrial process water for paper mills and carpet dyers, toilet flushing, dust control, construction activities, concrete mixing, and artificial lakes.

There is also technology available to recycle water for potable purposes as well. Some projects recharge ground water aquifers and augment surface water reservoirs with recycled water. In ground water recharge projects, recycled water can be introduced into ground water aquifers to augment ground water supplies, and to prevent salt water intrusion in coastal areas. For eg:, since 1976, the Water Factory 21 Direct Injection Project, located in Orange County, California, has been injecting highly treated recycled water into the aquifer to prevent salt water intrusion, while augmenting the potable ground water supply.

Eco systems are designed by nature to filter water and augment under ground water reserviors. But the advancement of urban life has thrown the precious balance out of place.Pollution, deforestation and a burgeoning population is on a one way trip to hell.

Sustainabilty, energy conservation & habitat conservation should go hand in hand. Sustainability is possible when we do not use more than what could be replaced. Conservation has to start with agriculture where world's 70 % of water consumption is concentrated. As human beings search for more space to settle down, forests, wet lands, marshes and agricultural land disappear. How do we reclaim what is lost?

Social & technological solutions are plenty. What is missing is a genuine concern to start at our own home!

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