The sector programme and climate change initiatives in Uttarakhand

Climate change is one of the most serious threats to the environment, health and economy of our nation as well as the whole world.

Recent scientific studies show that global warming is already causing environmental changes that will have significant global economic and social impacts. As the world's 4th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, India has to juggle the imperative demand for economic development with pressures for greater efficiency in the use of energy.

Climate change is a change in the statistical properties of the climate system when considered over long periods of time, regardless of cause. Climate change reflects a change in the energy balance of the climate system, i.e. changes the relative balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation from Earth. The threat emanates from accumulated green house gas emissions in the atmosphere, generated through long term and intensive industrial growth and high consumption life styles of developed countries.

In this league, India also needs to adapt climate change to enhance the ecological sustainability of its development growth. The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) addresses the urgent concerns of country towards climate change. Uttarakhand state has also prepared its State Action Plan on climate change. The main emphasis is on the following-

  • Enhancing carbon sink potential to reduce GHG emission by operating the pumping plants on maximum efficiency (more than 70% efficiency)
  • Constructing water recharge structures
  • Rain Water Harvesting to enhance ground water level
  • Use of CFL in all office buildings
  • Plantation, construction of check dams, recharge pits, chal-khal, percolation ponds and contour  trenches in all the water supply schemes
  • Focus on ensuring integrated water resource management to conserve water, minimize wastage and ensure equitable distribution across and within state
  • In line with provisions of National Water Policy, develop a framework to optimise water use
  • Recycling of waste water to meet large part of water needs of urban areas

Uttarakhand Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (Sector Programme) was initiated as an innovative experiment in Rural Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation Sector. The main objective of the project aimed to deliver sustainable health and hygiene benefits to the rural population of Uttarakhand State by improvement in water supply and sanitation services. Uttarakhand state is situated in the hills of Himalayas where ecological balance maintenance is of vital importance because of the continuous process of soil erosion. Here water source depletion and drying up of water source is main threat. Therefore treatment of the catchment area is of utmost importance. In the sector programme, as per World Bank guidelines, CACMP have been carried out in 25% of the water supply schemes (adversely affected) based on Vegetation, Erosion and Water Quality Assessments. Under this programme, check dams, contour trenches, percolation tanks, chal-khals, plantation works have been taken up to increase the water source discharge. Since the water supply schemes were launched through Gram Panchayats, the programme has generated environmental awareness among the community. With the intervention of CACMP, the community feels proud to conserve their own environment and hygienic environmental sanitation is becoming their habit and this is a real achievement.

Neelima Garg
Executive Engineer
U.J.S., Dehradun

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