If there is one thing that is certain about water resources in Nagaland is that they are diminishing. Every year, the water scarcity problem in the State seems to be getting worse. With extended dry spells, dying streams and depleting ground water resources, it has become imperative to work towards the preservation of our water reservoirs.
For months on end now, even areas which rarely used to face any water scarcity are reeling with this new problem. Ring wells and aquifers in historically water abundant regions of the State are drying up now. Subsequently, drilling bore wells are becoming an increasingly common sight these days; and along with that come the inherent consequences of groundwater contamination and depletion.
According to the ‘First Census of Water bodies- Volume- I’ compiled by the Ministry Of Jal Shakti, Government of India, there are 1,432 water bodies in Nagaland. Out of these, 1,287 or 89.87% of these water bodies are in rural areas and the remaining 145 of 10.13% are in urban areas.
With Nagaland’s increasing urbanization, water conservation has become a crucial issue. Water bodies, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers, play a crucial role in water conservation and recharge. They not only store water but also act as a natural filtration system and a habitat for various aquatic species. However, water bodies are increasingly under threat due to urbanization and other human activities. Protecting them is essential for ensuring a sustainable future.
Water bodies are natural reservoirs of water, and they help in recharging the groundwater. When it rains, the water runs off the surface and gets collected in these bodies, which gradually seeps into the ground, recharging the aquifers. In areas where groundwater is the primary source of water, these water bodies play a crucial role in water conservation. Moreover, they also help in regulating the water cycle, ensuring that the water is distributed evenly throughout the region.
Another critical function of water bodies is acting as a natural filtration system. The water bodies help in filtering out impurities and pollutants from the water, making it safe for human consumption. This filtration system is essential for ensuring that the water is of good quality and free from contaminants. Water bodies are also habitats for various aquatic species, and their conservation helps in preserving the biodiversity of the region.
The census also informed that over 94% of those are privately-owned. With the way resources are owned in Nagaland, water conservation inevitable needs to become a community endeavour—from water conservation practices, developing water management plans, monitoring water usage, regulating water usage, investing in water infrastructure, and protecting water sources.
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