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| Last Updated:19/09/2020

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Watershed conservation can reduce pollution in India: Study

KOLKATA: Indian cities like Mumbai, Gurgaon, Rajkot and several others that suffer from water pollution, have the potential to reduce pollution at the source by 10% through practices like watershed conservation and river bank restoration, a new study says.

The recently released "Urban Water Blueprint" study by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the largest environmental organization in world, provides an in-depth analysis of more than 2,000 watersheds serving 530 cities.

"Agricultural Best Management Practices (ABMP) would be most cost-effective for Mumbai, Bathinda, Hubli-Dharwad, Rajkot, Ranchi, Udaipar and Ujjain."

"This strategy and also riparian (river bank) restoration would work well for Bhopal, Gurgaon, Hazaribagh in protecting water sources," Robert McDonald, senior scientist at TNC and one of the lead authors of the report, told IANS in an email interaction.

The Blueprint provides science-based recommendations on where these strategies are most cost-effective.

McDonald said that although Indian cities suffer from polluted water sources, they have potential to reduce water source pollution by 10% through such cost-effective conservation solutions.

"We found that watershed conservation can be both an economical viable and environmentally sound investment for developed and developing cities alike."

"This would lower water treatment costs by about five percent and improve drinking water for millions of Indians," he added.

Improving water quality at the source would mean that "less than 1,000 hectares of conservation action would be needed to achieve a 10 percent reduction in sediment or unwanted nutrient pollution."

The Blueprint was released in partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the International Water Association.

The accompanying data visualization website can serve as a tool for city and water managers to evaluate the condition of drinking watersheds and the potential impact that conservation strategies could have on water quality.

"Reforestation is the best option for Gwalior and Thiruvananthapuram. Many other Indian cities also hold medium potential for ABMP and river bank restoration," McDonald said.