With the onset of the monsoon, Indian Railways is assessing and reviewing the existing water bodies in rail land to ensure these water resources are protected and nurtured across the country.
Besides protecting the existing water bodies, the Railways has formulated an action plan to revive the non-functional ones also.
Currently there are 1,591 natural water bodies which are functional on the railway land. Directives are being issued to all zones to take up the protection and restoration of water bodies to prevent further fall of water levels.
In the recent past, about 44 non-functional water bodies were restored including the Salarjung well in Hyderabad. According to the Railways, revival of 200 year old Salarjung wells yielding average 2.5 lakh litres of water per day is an example worth emulating.
In order to minimise water wastage, zonal railways have been asked to conduct water audits at major water consumption centres through third parties for quality as well as quantity and to take up works of water recycling plants based on water audit reports.
Currently the Railways is promoting rain water harvesting in a big way to promote water conservation.
While way back in 2001, the Railways had asked for roof top rain harvesting to recharge ground water especially in areas witnessing seasonal shortage of water, in 2013, it was decided to extend the scheme to all railway buildings, hospitals, colonies, workshops and other rail premises.
While installation of roof top rain water harvesting is being monitored across all railway zones, there are 6,618 such systems have been installed in the Railways.
We have a water policy which covers all aspects of water use efficiency, water recycling, conservation, recharge of ground water and restorations of water bodies, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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