The southeastern coastal Indian town of Chennai is facing a massive drought and loss of water supply. Monsoon rains did not fill reservoirs last fall as normally happens. Hot and dry weather produced little rain for several months until yesterday. Rain is predicted for the next several days but it may not be enough to provide water to all estimated 10 million people living there.
The city of Chennai made most of the news but the Indian government is reporting a wider spread water crisis due to monsoons arriving very late leading to conflict and villages being abandoned.
This is a humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed directly, such as by government actions to improve infrastructure, and indirectly by all of us to address what we can do to lessen impacts on our planet and carbon emissions. I highly recommend everyone read the book: Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming and check out my two blogs on the topic:
Specific to India and other parts of the world, ideas from the Drawdown book that could help manage the water crisis include:
* Let rice field dry out in mid-season to prevent methane buildup
* Allow cattle to roam in forests to reduce deforestation
* Plant multiple crops together to improve biodiversity and health of soil; for example - in tropical areas can plant coconut, banana, and ginger together
* Keep fields vegetated rather than exposing soil to reduce erosion and loss of the carbon sink
Other low tech ways include adding shade balls to reservoirs for reducing evaporation demonstrated in Los Angeles and high tech ways to conserve water including aquifer injection, storage and recovery.
On June 30, I posted a blog about a new discovery of potential drinking water found beneath the Atlantic Ocean! This could have implications for other similar coastal areas including in India that deserves exploration and provide additional drinking water sources to drought-stricken areas.
Yesterday, National Public Radio provided an update on the water crisis in Chennai as to many of the causes including ‘urbanization’ where water runoff is diverted, such as for industrial use, instead of naturally flowing into the reservoir and groundwater for people to drink.