Ensuring water security in Chennai
August 23, 2019, MSSRF, Chennai: Sweden Alumni Network India- Tamil Nadu Chapter (SANI-TN) and M S Swaminthan Research Foundation (MSSRF) jointly organized a Stakeholders consultation for sustainable solution on “Towards Ensuring Water Security in Chennai City”, Tamil Nadu, India on 23 August 2019 at MSSRF.
Prof M S Swaminathan inaugurated the consultation and Ms Santha Sheela Nair, IAS retired delivered the key note address.
Prof Swaminathan while inaugurating the consultation insisted on a follow up to this consultation and see how we can translate the outcomes of this consultation into action. He emphasized the need for quality issues in water and its management. He also emphasized on use of sea water for agricultural purposes.
In her key note address, Ms Santha Sheela Nair emphasized the need for water augmenting techniques such as promoting rainwater harvesting. She asked decentralized mechanism for water management and supply, as also, decentralized small desalinization plants near coastal areas. She focused on water governance, in terms of pricing water, as providing incentives for those who save water. She criticized that the construction of storm water drainage is planned for 5400 kms in the Chennai city at a huge cost. Instead she suggested construction of rainwater harvesting structures in every 50 meters that could help in recharging groundwater as well as flood mitigation.
Prof B V Mudgal, Director, Centre for water resources, Anna University, Mr Ashok Natarajan, CEO, Tamil Nadu Water Investment Company Ltd., Prof S Janakarajan, Water expert, Prof L Venkatachalam, MIDS, Prof R Chandra, Activists Gender issue, addressed the consultation on various themes. Dr Rajagopal, Secretary, SANI - TN Chapter welcomed the participants and Ms R Anitha, Chairperson, SANI- TN, delivered the vote of thanks and Prof V B Athreya delivered the valedictory address.
Other speakers in the consultation emphasized on the technical issues in terms of: feasible technology; taking into account the impact of water crisis in peri-urban area; issue of pricing water; plan for dispersing the population in outer Chennai; looking into gender specific issues related to water, as women are the worst affected in water crisis areas.
V B Athreya emphasized on the issue of decentralization of water governance, people’s participation in the governance and providing water literacy for empowering them to make informed decisions and take into account caste, class and gender specificities in water management.