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Following these steps in chronological order:

·    1)Identify our water bodies

·    2)Study the rate of decline

·    3)Arrest the decline

·    4)Take steps to reverse the destruction caused to our water bodies.

Use of Technology in tracking the water bodies

There is an urgent need to monitor and identify our water bodies using technological interventions to obtain a better understanding of its use, which will go a long way in providing information for effective water management strategies and improving the necessary infrastructures.

Use of Remote sensing and GIS:

Remote sensing: In remote sensing, a place’s (usually meant as the surface of the earth) characteristics are assessed from a distance. The term is applied to the study of earth’s features from the images taken from the space using satellites, or from nearer the earth using aircrafts.

In satellites remote sensing, cameras are fitted to the orbiting satellite and are focused towards the earth.

Geographical Information System (GIS): A GIS is a computer application program that stores spatial and Non-Spatial information in a digital form. Fundamentally, a GIS is a map in an electronic form, representing any type of spatial features. Additionally, properties or attributes may be attached to the spatial features. Geographic Information System (GIS) has wide applications in planning any spatially distributed projects. Apart from its spatial data analysis capabilities, it provides an interface to remotely sensed images and field surveyed data. This is helpful to regionally plan and conserve our water resources.

The integrated use of Geographical Information System (GIS) and remote sensing technologies can help in:

·       1)Identifying water bodies

·       2)Tracking water bodies

·       3)Measuring water loss in water bodies

·       4)Detecting changes in the water bodies

·       5)Measuring the rate of disappearance of water bodies

The remote sensing satellites provide highly accurate satellite images. Using the data obtained from the satellites and GIS, spatial water availability maps can be generated. Moreover, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, dams and reservoirs can be mapped in 3D.

It is important to capture and analyze data on a periodic basis to get an accurate water body mapping so that these areas are mapped on a routine basis. The concerned authorities at local and regional levels can use the information for identifying the sites or regions that need effective protection and management.

On saving water bodies, our experts say: It is a well-known fact that the rate of disappearing water bodies and wetlands has reached an alarming level, and the impact is being felt beyond the environment and into the socio-economic sphere. So, apart from plugging in the gaps and challenges mentioned above, proactive steps should be taken to address the issue in order to avoid another urban flooding like Chennai and Delhi.

These include:

·      1)Sensitizing city planners, local bodies and other stakeholders about the importance of water bodies.

·      2)Regularly maintaining water bodies by cleaning sediments and improving the drainage infrastructure.

·      3)Strictly implementing environmental rules and regulations and also the land use regulations.

·      4)Environmental laws should be further strengthened to impose hefty penalties for law breakers.

·      5) Framing the vision, mission and master plan to protect various water bodies locally and implementing them rigidly.

Unless there exists necessary political and social will, we will continue to be exposed to severe natural calamities.

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