Acute Water Scarcity At Wettest Place On Earth
Acute water scarcity at wettest place on Earth
Meghalaya India, the wettest place on Earth is now known as a wet desert due to water scarcity. Has climate change also now even reached the most hidden pristine parts of our world?
From the article:
Nothing can be more ironical: despite being the wettest place on earth Cherrapunjee is suffering from acute water scarcity, earning for itself the epithet wet desert. And now the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is assisting the Meghalaya government to go into the causes of the scarcity, especially during the lean period.
The study will include technical assessments on the status of river catchments in Meghalaya and social and institutional analysis of the forces that have led to the shortage of water, says Jevon Harding of TERI. TERI will assist the Rain Water Harvesting Mission, formed by the state government, to combat the shortage of surface water. One of the components of the study will be to come up with a strategy of rainwater harvesting. Cherrapunjee receives about 12000 mm rainfall annually, but the residents face severe crisis of surface water specially during the lean season when rainfall is sometimes nil. Women and children trudging uphill with water-filled clay-pots on their backs from deep gorges is a common sight in Cherrapunjee today. The perennial springs gushing out abundant water are also now on the verge of drying up due to random large-scale destruction of forests.
Environmentalist Naba Bhattacharjee said, It-s a false notion that high rainfall will ensure perennial water supply for infinity. Only 0.0007 per cent of the world-s total water is potable and which is on decline due to change in rainfall pattern and inadequate precipitation due to global warming and climate change. He, however, emphasized on revival of traditional rain water storage systems supplemented by improved modern technology suitable for hilly the terrain. Emphasizing on equitable distribution of water among people, anthropologist Nitish Jha of the TERI said, There is no physical crisis of water in Meghalaya, but there is an economic scarcity of water only in Cherrapunjee (now called Sohra), which receives the highest rainfall in the world.
Jha said that the TERI would venture into an extensive survey over a period of one year to ascertain the cause of water crisis in Shillong and Sohra and subsequently come out with a detailed project report on tackling the situation through effective management and conservation measures. snipJha pointed out that the peculiar land tenure system prevalent in the State coupled with the menace of unscientific coal mining and stone quarrying have depleted water levels in the perennial catchments of the state.
Unscientific Coal Mining Affecting Meghalaya Environment
It is truly heartbreaking to see this happening to one of the last pristine places on Earth. It is totally inhumane. Population will increase while the availability of freshwater declines due to such practices which toxify the land and water. Add to that the effects of climate change in this area as far as erratic rainfall patterns, species extinction, and invasive species as well as the spread of diseases and we are looking at an environmental catatrophe where there should have been none. What is it about so many in the human species who still cannot connect these dots? To think that even there natural biodiversity cannot be respected is dark news indeed. Governments are totally irresponsible in their actions as well. They hurt the very people they are supposed to be helping.