Fighting coronavirus and saving water
In the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, there is an urgent need to understand the importance of water management in India.
What is the relationship between the two?
According to WHO, Covid-19 is “not robust”-it’s less stable in the environment and more susceptible to oxidants such as chlorine. Conventional, centralised water-treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection could inactivate this virus. However, Covid-19 may be transmitted through the faecal-oral route. Thus, manual handling of faeces, which is unfortunately still practised in India, has to be strictly prohibited.
Need for water management –
- Due to increased awareness, people are washing their hands about 5-7 times a day and disinfecting their houses at least once in 2-3 days. Due to this, average water consumption has increased nearly 1.5 times.
- A great volume of disinfectants is being used, which creates risks of leaks. The composition of grey and wastewater from normal households has changed due to frequent use of disinfectants. Safe disposal of wastewater will be another issue for India, which has a deplorable sewer network.
What should be done?
- First, we must reduce misinformation regarding the reliability of the quality of water supplied through utilities so people can reduce their dependency on packaged water. People can be advised not to leave the tap running while washing hands. They can also alter between washing hands and sanitising them.
- Secondly, the focus needs to be on treatment of pharma residue. Wastewater from medical facilities needs to be monitored and only disposed of in drains connected to a septic system or sewer or soak pits. The state of the environment must be monitored closely, to avoid any eventual secondary disaster, and potential impact assessments should be made timely. The safe disposal of medical waste is also a challenge for our country.
- Third, given the rapid increase in population and climate change, we must prepare ourselves for such outbreaks in the future. As for long-term measures, a balance between water supply and demand has to be created by curbing extra demand and supplementing supply.
Way forward –
India, which is already facing water scarcity, needs to conserve traditional water bodies, make water supply leak-proof and ensure 100% metering in at least urban areas. There is a need to establish a supplementary resource system to cater to emergency requirements.
Source – The Financial Express
QUESTION – Efficient water management becomes a key ingredient to tackle a pandemic disease. Why?