The increase in urban population worldwide, and freshwater scarcity especially in India, is creating a major challenge for town planners and city administrators across the country. India is already under huge water stress, and steps have to be taken to reduce the use of fresh groundwater for non-potable purposes like irrigation of green areas in the urban areas.
There are a few challenges that need to be addressed:
- Judicious Use of Fresh Water:
Although 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, unfortunately, 97% of this is in oceans/seas. Only 3% of the water is fresh water and out of this only 0.5% is easily available for human consumption. and the rest is in the form of glaciers or in deep soil where its extraction is not affordable. Presently, India has access to the 4% of the 0.5% fresh water available on earth, although it’s home to 17% of the global population.
- Food Security:
With a faster depletion rate of groundwater and the increasing global population, the biggest challenge for mankind is food security. To increase food production, we will have to increase the area under cultivation and also the percentage of irrigated fields globally.
- Climate Change & Global Warming:
Increased industrialization and higher urban population density, are leading to a warmer and more polluted planet, and to fight this challenge, it’s important to maintain a greener planet. Unfortunately, to achieve this we are putting severe stress on the limited freshwater resources that are available.
The use of fresh groundwater for watering urban green areas/horticulture and in industries should be discouraged although urban green areas like parks/gardens/road medians/trees plantation are essential to maintain the environment and control pollution levels.
Keeping in view the above challenges, usage of STP Water for watering Urban green areas should be encouraged, this would help in conserving our limited fresh water and at the same time help in the growth of plants and grass as this water has a sufficient number of macro and micronutrients. Though STP water also has heavy metal, organic and inorganic pollutants but by using Secondary filtration units in the system this can be reduced to the correct levels.
STP water should be used for irrigation in urban green areas by means of Flood Irrigation or by a pressurized irrigation system. It has been observed that gardeners are hesitant of using STP water for spraying and they just do flood irrigation, which results in over-irrigation. Sometimes due to the pungency of the STP water, it becomes difficult to use it for irrigation effectively.
Automatic Pressurized Irrigation Systems are the perfect solution as there is no direct involvement of manpower for irrigation, and the use of technology also has the added advantage, that irrigation can be scheduled at night and issues like over-irrigation and pungent smell are addressed. The sensors in the system automatically monitor the moisture levels in the soil and only activate the system as and when required, thus leading to the correct amount of irrigation, thus helping us make the most efficient use of our resources.