“Water has a memory and carries within it our thoughts and prayers.
As you yourself are water,
no matter where you are,
your prayers will be carried to the rest of the world”.
Water is a vital element for all life forms. No human, animal or plant can live without it. Elephants to bacteria, water is essential and nothing can replace it. A human must consume 2.5 litres of water from food and liquid per day to remain healthy. Our bodies (and many other organisms bodies) are made up of about 70% water, and we need to exchange about 2 litres daily. No water means no life. Without water, no livestock can be grown and land cannot be cultivated. There’s no food without water. Fortunately, there’s a lot of water on Earth: seen from space, our blue planet could be called Water, not Earth. If water covered the Earth’s surface evenly, the whole planet would be covered by a global ocean 2.5 km (1.5 mi) deep. All the land surface would fit into the Pacific Ocean. But most of the water on Earth is found on seas and the seawater is salty. A human drinking seawater would die dehydrated, as its body could not eliminate the extra salt. As well as that, crops cannot be irrigated with this water and if used in industry, it quickly oxidises any machinery which isn’t in any way practical as removing its salt is very costly. Only 3 % of the Earth’s water is freshwater. Almost all the freshwater (99 %) is stored in glaciers and polar caps or on table waters at great depths. There is more fresh water in the atmosphere, than in all rivers on earth combined. the Humankind has access just to 1 %. Even if this 1 % was uniformly distributed and rationally used, it would be enough to sustain a human population two-three times more numerous than the current one! The water quantity on Earth is very constant and this is the water that dinosaurs drank, the whole water that ever existed or will ever exist. The water on Earth is on a continuous cycle from oceans to atmosphere, then on to the ground through rivers and back to the oceans. However, still in many areas water is a scarce resource.
Know your water sources
The State of Goa has a potential abundance in water. It is located on the West Coast of India and receives a great deal of rainfall from the South-West monsoonal winds. The Konkan belt locked between the Sahyadri range on the Eastern side and the Arabian Sea on the West is very conducive for relieving the heavy moisture laden winds during monsoons.
As a corollary, rainfall pattern is heaviest along the mountain ranges and on its western slopes, which gradually reduces towards the coastal plains. The majority of the entire precipitation is limited to a period of just four months (i.e. June to September). The annual rainfall pattern in Goa over the last 14 years is very erratic and rainfall in recent years has been below an annual average of 3000 mm.
Though the State has a good potential of assured water, a high percentage of the water resources drain down, owing to Goa’s physiographical set up, a number of streams, nallahs, rivulets and rivers, which run across the State in a westerly direction and ultimately join the Arabian Sea. This results in sharp imbalance between the water supply and its availability during different months of the summer and monsoon season.
One solution can be the establishment of drainage swales and water catchment through monsoon season.
Surface Water Resources
The State has nine rivers
(Terekhol 26 km, Chapora 32 km, Baga 10 km, Mandovi 52 km, Zuari 145 km, Sal 40 km, Saleri 11 km, Talpona 32 km, Galibag),
Six rivers originate and flow exclusively within the State boundaries and do not have any interstate implications. However, the Terekhol and Chapora rivers originate in Maharashtra while Mandovi river originates in Karnataka State. All the rivers except Sal in the South originate on the western slopes and subsequently meander over falls and rapids into the coastal plains, from where they tend to become sluggish and then ultimately join the estuary mouths and then into the sea. Most of these rivers are subject to tidal variations and salinity up to a distance of 20-40 km upstream from their respective mouth regions. As such these have been referred to as estuaries.
Our local impact on our valuable resource
Iron mining (mainly exported to china) has an detrimental impact on the ground water table. It pollutes rivers with heavy metals and sediments.
More details for the interested ones:
River Mandovi is the largest river in Goa and is known as the lifeline of Goa. The river emerges in the Western Ghats, moving westward and meets the Arabian Sea after draining a forested area of around 43,500 hectares. The basin area of Mandovi is of 1549.8 KM2. There are more than 27 large mines operating in it’s catchment area with numerous loading points to load barges with iron ore for shipment to mainly China since 2004.
Zuari River is the lifeline of South Goa. This river has a basin of 973 KM2 and also emerges from the Western Ghats. There are more than 10 large mines operating along the river.
The River Khandepar is an important river on which the first project to supply water was installed by Portuguese in 1954. Its so called Opa project has a capacity of 115 million litres per day (mld) and supplies water to 30% of Goa’s population, including the capital city, Panaji, Ponda and 55 villages. This river has 21 mines in its catchment area within a distance of just 1 km! The river is immensely silted yet the Water Resource Department does not take action against the polluters.
Sanguem is the largest taluka of Goa with an area of 836 km2. This taluka has 295 mining leases. It has a forested area of 578 sq km with Goas largest reservoir called Selaulim which supplies water to 55% of Goas population. There are more than 15 mining leases in the catchment of this reservoir. There are additional illegal mining operations in the catchment area, adjoining the reservoir banks, endangering the reservoir and rapidly increasing its siltation rate.
Mandovi is also known as Mhadei in its upper course in Sattari, one of the talukas from the Western Ghat. There are 6 mining leases here within a distance of just 1 km and a Dabose water supply scheme, supplying drinking water to Sattari and nearby regions!
The solution may lay in establishing laws that protect water sheds and their enforcement. Education and high fines, might do miracles.
Goa is one of the most sought after beach destinations in India. It attracts nearly 2.6 million tourists annually, including nearly half a million foreigners, mostly from the UK, Russia and Germany.
The originally implemented ways of dealing with sewage don’t accommodate for that influx.
New ways and models need to be planned out and implemented.
Small hotels (under 25 rooms) use septic systems which indirectly leach into the groundwater resources.
Sewage is often directed into the sea and/or rivers & creeks.
Solutions can be well established Sewage Systems, with thorough particle filtration, Beneficial Microorganisms & Plant Filtration.