How water pollution is caused due to withdrawal of river water in India?
The upper course of many Indian rivers, especially the Himalayan Rivers, is well-supplied with water. When they first arrive in the plain, they are dehydrated. Soon after rivers reach the plains, irrigation canals whisk clean water away, preventing water from flowing in the river downstream.
The water from small and minor streams as well as the drains carrying untreated sewage and effluents, trickles into the river water. Unless a major river increases the diminished flows, the river-turned-drain run downstream with little to no fresh water.
In this blog, we will look at how water pollution is caused due to withdrawal of river water in India.
When there is less fresh water in the river, pollution from both urban and rural areas, industries, and even natural sources cannot be diffused, and its negative impacts are not lessened. Let us understand it with the help of some examples:
1: At Tajewala in Haryana, where the Eastern Yamuna Canal and the Western Yamuna Canal, take all the water for irrigation, and thus the Yamuna has less water.
2: The Ganga downstream has been nearly dried up as a result of the Upper Ganga Canal and the Lower Ganga Canal.
3: The Yamuna and Ganga become foul sewers as they pass by Delhi and Kanpur, respectively. Thus, it is crucial that the river maintain at least a certain degree of water flow. This is referred to as the river's minimal flow.
Thus, the influence on river water quality of discharges of treated or untreated wastewater into the river, will rely on the dilution offered by the amount of flows in the river, according to a report by the Ministry of Water Resources. According to the study, additional fresh water cannot be added for dilution because there is a lack of water. Fewer pollutants entering the river will solve the problem.
What happens when there is less water than the minimum water flow?
The minimum flow is probably going to decrease even more in the future, due to the rising demand for water for irrigation. Simply said, it is impossible to clean up a river that doesn't exist because of the minimum flow of water.
In the case of the Yamuna, the river is barely a trickle from Delhi all the way up to where the Chambal enters. Some rivers, like the Sabarmati, are almost completely dry.
In Delhi, the Yamuna is slowly disappearing. In actuality, the river is lifeless as it passes by Delhi. Although, this river is comparatively less polluted when it enters Delhi at the Wazirabad barrage, just 100 metres downstream from the barrage, untreated sewage and industrial garbage are dumped into the river. According to the committee on Yamuna minimum flows, if Delhi's minimum flows need is reached, that would be sufficient for the entire length of the river. There wouldn't be much freshwater left in the river to maintain the minimal flow, if the Yamuna's water use for agricultural and urban needs increased.
A recent realisation that calls for serious thinking is the maintenance of minimum flows, to maintain river ecology along the course of the river as well as at its confluences. This regulation needs to be rigorously implemented, in order to keep river pollution below a specified allowable range.
Is Govt. planning something to conserve India’s rivers?
India is getting better at conserving water. Some of the government-initiated initiatives include the union government's Ganga regeneration projects and the Yamuna clean-up.
Treatment of water in India
To counteract water resource contamination, the government has implemented a number of measures. Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) is a method of water treatment used to remove liquid waste from industries, which discharge highly polluted wastewater, such as from distilleries and the fertiliser industry.
ZLD has been promoted by the government and has since been used at some significant industrial facilities, but installation costs and the inability to effectively handle large amounts of dissolved solids in wastewater, prevent many industrial facilities from implementing this technology.
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