UNEP launches water quality guidelines for ecosystems

Policy matters this week: UNEP launches water quality guidelines for ecosystems, committee to explore wider use of Mangal turbines and 6500 fish ponds coming up in Meghalaya.
Mangal turbine Source: mangalturbine.com Mangal turbine Source: mangalturbine.com

UNEP launches water quality guidelines for ecosystems

The United Nations Environment Programme has lauched water quality guidelines for ecosystems at the Budapest water summit. The guidelines focus on sustainable management of global water resources at a time when declining quality and quantity of water resources due to human population growth, unsustainable development and climate change has afflicted most aquatic and forest ecosystems. At present, international guidelines exist only for drinking water, water for recreational use, irrigation and livestock, and water reuse among others. No comparable international water quality standards exist for ecosystems.

Committee to assess Mangal turbine for wider use

Mangal turbine, which can lift water from small streams without using diesel or electricity, has got some recognition from the Ministry of Rural Development in the form of a committee, which will assess its possibility for wider use. Innovated and patented by Mangal Singh, a farmer from Bundelkhand, the turbine not just reduces the farmers' irrigation cost but also leads to a decrease in green house gas emissions. The committee, that has to submit its report of the replicability of the innovation in three months, will also consider providing relief to Mangal Singh, who despite financial difficulties, has helped install 50 such turbines in various parts of the country.
 
Coming up: 6500 fish ponds in Meghalya

In order to promote aquaculture and increase farmers' income, the Meghalya Government has come up with a scheme to construct 6500 fish ponds. With a size of 0.1 hectare each, these ponds will be constructed with a 60% government subsidy. As of now, the state consumes about 25,000 metric tonne of fish imported 2000 kms away from Andhra Pradesh and other fish producing states. When all the ponds are functional by 2018, the state government expects to reduce this import to 5000 metric tonnes. Production in these ponds will begin from June-July 2014.


Model hi-tech villages in Kerala

The Kerala government has approved a 42-crore project for precision farming and renewable energy in the state. Under the project, farmers in 14 selected villages will be equipped with poly-houses and precision farming techniques that use less water and fertilizer for the cultivation of bananas and vegetables. All the households in the selected villages will also be provided assistance to set up rooftop solar panels, rainwater harvesting structures and waste management units.

Check dams worth 47.5 crores for wild animals in Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu state government is constructing 100 check dams and over 1000 water trenches inside forests in 10 districts to reduce man-animal conflict in summers when the animals come out of the forest in search of water. The project is funded by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. In Madurai district alone, where the construction is almost complete, 18 check dams have been built at a cost of Rs 3 lakh each and 9 percolation ponds at a cost of Rs 6 lakh each. According to forest officials, unprecedented water scarcity in the forests last summer led to animals dying and also several incidents of bisons straying into villages resulting in man-animal conflicts.

This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from November 4-10. Also read last week's news updates.

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