forest hut

Water Farmers of Western Ghats

The Western Ghats is a mountain range that covers an area of 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) in a stretch of 1,600 km (990 mi) parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

These hills form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India.

The river systems originating in the Western Ghats flow eastwards & westwards. These rivers meet water needs of over 144 million people. The Western Ghats account for 80% of India’s hydropower generation.

Can you imagine what will happen if this natural engineering system – the ecosystem around the rain cycle- gets unbalanced? Disaster, to say the least.

Here are the key concern areas about the Western Ghats water systems;

  • Water Availability
    • Unpredictable rain cycles due to climate change
    • Deforestation leading to rivers drying up sooner because the forests – the sponge – are compromised
  • Water Quality
    • Deforestation – with no tree roots, water filtration is compromised
    • Improper farming practices – use of chemical based fertilizers, pesticides & herbicides lead to water system contamination.

Owning a property in the Western Ghats is a privilege. And the privilege comes with a huge responsibility. A responsibility to manage the water tap, really really large water tap!

The tap stops, people dependent on it die. The tap gushes contaminated water, people’s health suffer. The nation weakens.

What kind of ethical & well-informed practices will we follow to keep the tap ON with the best quality water – the quality that this natural engineering system is originally designed for?

Can we be good water farmers?

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