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Biodiversity galore

The New Indian Express, Chennai, 23th May, 2013

A publication on water management, Watering Biodiversity, Ecosystem released by the National Biodiversity Authority, calls on the government to take up ecologically viable water management strategies to help bring down the cost of water.

“There are two ways of managing water, one is through technological fixes like water desalination and the other is ecosystem restoration, which looks at restoring biodiversity that supports drinking water. A number of cities including New York now find their water through the second technique. The city maintains a wetland and all its water requirements are met through this. This is not only ecologically sustainable but inexpensive as well. In a country like ours, a lack of awareness has meant that people do not even know if a particular area is a wetland or a marsh,” said Balakrishna Pasupati of the National Biodiversity Authority.

Releasing the book veteran scientist M S Swaminathan highlighted the importance of putting to use ecologically sustainable techniques to face the challenges of climate change.

“The rice cultivation of Kuttanad in Kerala is set to be recognised as a globally important agricultural heritage site (GIAHS). The farmers have developed a type of rice cultivation that can be done below sea level. In the context of climate change and the now inevitable rise of sea level, techniques like this where cultivation can be done below sea level will become extremely crucial. A number of countries like Mauritius, which are under threat from the rising sea water, are showing a keen interest in the technique,” he said.

He pointed out that ecological sustainability needs to be strengthened at the grass-root level and then moved upwards. It is at this level that all the important action takes place, he said.

The publication cites the lack of focus on commercial use of water resources and the increasing subsidies on unsustainable infrastructure that guzzles precious water among the key challenges in water management.