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Transboundary water issues to be discussed on World Water Day

Environmentalists,governments and citizens from across the globe will be celebrating the 16 th World Water Day on March 22 this year...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 20, 2009 1:44:49 am

* The world’s 263 transboundary lake and river basins cover nearly half of the earth’s surface.
* Great reservoirs of freshwater also move silently below our borders in underground aquifers.
* Since the last 60 years there have been more than 200 international water agreements and only 37 cases of reported violence between states over water.
* Over 40 per cent of the world’s population resides within internationally shared river basins. (From: unwater.org )

Environmentalists,governments and citizens from across the globe will be celebrating the 16 th World Water Day on March 22 this year. Transboundary water issues will form the underlying theme for the occasion.

As the city reels under water crisis,environmentalists,citizens’ groups,educational institutes and even hoteliers are coming together to discuss the ecological,cultural,economic and social importance of water and the importance of reaching out to people across borders to resolve a common problem.

“People around the world should be encouraged to draw attention to the challenge of sharing water and opportunities. Increasingly,water scarcity is becoming a worldwide issue. This calls for an increased integration and cooperation of diverse communities,cities and sectors to ensure sustainable,efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources,” said Elsie Gabriel,Founder President of Young Environmentalists Programme Trust.

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Hoteliers,often accused of wasting water,will also be attending the conference. “Conserving water is the need of the hour. Especially for the hotel industry,this is the biggest challenge. On World Water Day we want to spread awareness about the fact that hotel business too can be carried on with minimum water usage,” said General Manager of Rodas and Ecotel Hotel,Punish Sharma.

The hotel is one of the representatives in the event. “We make sure that minimum water is used in day to day work. Small measures like washing vegetables in a water basin rather than washing them under running water or cleaning work areas,table tops with a bucket and duster instead of a water hose can go a long way in saving water,” said Sharma.

“Energy efficiency measures don’t really cost much contrary to popular belief. In fact,we saved almost a crore last year using environment-friendly methods,” added Sharma.

The issue of disappearing water bodies from the city’s landscape will also be discussed in the meet. Gordan Rodricks,Vice-President of Maharashtra State Angling Association (MSAA) said,“We want the vanishing water bodies to be restored and protected. The BMC is taking some steps to restore the Powai lake. However,a lot needs to be done for other water bodies. Rapid urbanisation in the city has led to the destruction of small water bodies,which are important lungs of the city.”

The MSAA will be presenting a paper on how non-commercial fishing can help save water bodies. “After taking the weeds from Powai lake,we put around 15 to 20,000 fishes in the lake. This method helps in protecting the flora and fauna of a lake and areas around it. We want to sensitise students and citizens on how they can do their bit to save the water bodies,” said Rodricks.

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