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Sustainable Management & Importance of Water Notes | Study Science Class 10 - Class 10

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Development which meets the needs of present generation as well as of future generations.


In December, 1972, the illiterate tribal women of a small hilly village of upper reaches of Himalayas commenced this unique movement against the exploitation of forests by the timber merchants. This demonstration transformed into first Chipko movement in Mandel village of Chamoli district in April 1973, when people declared that they would cling to trees if trees were felled by a sport goods company. This movement was led by Shri Sunder-Lal Bahuguna and Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt. Later a voluntary institution called Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh was formed and a massive membership campaign was launched to demonstrate against removing trees and upto 1978 this movement spread over entire TehriGarhwal area of Uttaranchal.

Main features of Chipko movement were :

1. It was based on Gandhian thought and persuaded the men and women not to indulge in violence.

2. This movement remained non-political though political parties supported it.

3. It raised certain fundamental issues and questioned the development based on the ruthless butchery of nature. The common people were made aware that deforestation leads to landslides which may threaten the human beings.

4. It was a totally voluntary movement and relied upon the motivation and moral of small groups of people.

5. It was concerned with the ecological balance of nature. It propagated the idea of ecology as permanent economy.

6. Main aim of Chipko movement was to give a slogan of five F-Food, foder, fuel, fibre and fertilizer trees; and to make communities self-sufficient in all their basic needs.


(i) It stimulated an all-round debate on the problems of economic and social development. Mr. Bahuguna presented the plan of conservation of soil and water through ban on tree-felling, at the UNEP meeting held in June 1982 in London.

(ii) It inspired similar movements in the other parts of the country as well e.g. "Appikko movement" was started on September 8, 1983 against the felling of trees in the Kalese forest of North Kanara district of Karnataka. This movement was led by Shri Panduranga Hegde.

(iii) Here contractor would have felled the trees, destroyed them altogether. Local people only lopped the branches and leaves for use. Due to this tree regained with passage of time.


The Silent Valley Hydro-Electric Project was aimed to generate more energy to the power-deficit people of Palghat and Mallapuram districts of Kerala, enhancing irrigation facilities to increase agricultural production manifold and to generate employment for thousands of people. But this project required the large-scale deforestation of large area of silent valley, the forests of which have over 900 species of flowering plants and ferns, large number of rare species of plants and animals, it was one of the world's richest biological and genetic heritages. KSSP (Kerala Sastra. Sahitya Parishath) highlighted the wrong policies of distribution of electricity by the electricity board and advocated the increasing irrigation potential by alternative means. Environmentalists asserted the silent valley as home to one of the few remaining rain forests in Western Ghats.

Under the pressure of KSSP, the Kerala Government abandoned the project and declared the silent valley and adjoining areas as Bisphere Reserve.

3. Sal forests in the Southern Districts of West Bengal

Sal forests in the Southern Districts of West Bengal were in highly degraded form in 1972. Forest officials and villagers usually clashed with each other. It also led to militant farmer movements encouraged by Naxalites. Joint Forest Managment Committees were formed by the Forest Department with partnership of the Government and the local communities to recover degraded forests. This type of working was started in Arabari Forest Range of Midnapore district. Forest officer A.K. Banerjee involved the villagers for protection of 1,272 hectares of badly spoiled sal forest area. Villagers in lieu of that were provided with following facilities :

(i) 25% of final harvest. They got employment in silviculture and harvesting activities.

(ii) Fuelwood and fodder collection on nominal charges.

Thus village community were entitled for the share prescribed. This type of activity had the objective of providing fuel wood, fodder and small timber to village communities. Simultaneously, it also looks at the development of forests. Due to the participation of local communities, a remarkable recovery was noticed. The value of this useless forest in 1983 was calculated for 12.5 crores.

Do You Know ?

Bisnois an Eco-religion

The conservation of forests and wild life for the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan has been a religious act. Guru Jambeshwarji, a great saint, launched a new sect and prescribed 29 tenets. The followers of these
 29 tenets are called Bishnois (literally meaning 'twenty-nine in Hindi). Of the 29 tenets, 8 tenets are prescribed for preservation of biodiversity and good animal husbandary. These include a ban on killing of all animal and felling of trees.

It is said that in 1737, an official of Jodphur (Rajasthan) started felling a few Khejari trees in Kheijrali village. This was opposed by the Bishnois of the village. The initiative was taken by a woman, Amrita Devi, a mother of three minor childern, who sacrificed her life by hugging the tree that was being cut. Her example was followed first by her three children and later on by a long chain of Bishnoi men, women and childern. In all, 363 Bishnois from Khejrali and adjoining villages sacrified their lives. Recently, the Government of India has instituted an 'Amrita Devi Bishoni National Award for Wildife Conservation' in the memory of Amrita Devi.

The Great Himalayan National Park :

In national Park, the growth of grass has been reduced drastically because by the time the park was formed, the traditional grazing of sheep was stopped. This led to the extra growth of grass in the very beginning. The large grass fell down preventing fresh growth from below. But when the nomadic shepherds were not banned for grazing of their sheep, such type of problem was never found.

Thus we can say that the traditional use of forest areas should be allowed for the local people so that the conservation of the forest areas could occur naturally and automatically.


Water is a renewable resource. Like air, water is vital to life for all physiological activities of plants and animals, it is essential. Water is essential for the survival and economic development of human resources. Water covers about three quarters of earth surface and constitutes 60-70 % of total body weight of living organisms.

Fresh water resources range from ponds to lakes and large rivers. Freshwater is exhaustible, however it is being made available again and again by oceans through water cycle.

Freshwater is obtained through precipitation. Rainfall in India during monsoon is nearly 75% of the mean annual rainfall. Rains in India are mainly due to monsoons. It means, most of rainfall in India is confined to few months of the year and are seasonal.

In India, 70 per cent of water withdrawn is utilized in agriculture sector. About 93 per cent of water, in India, is used for agriculture. Global average water consumption for industries is 25 per cent. In developing countries this consumption may be as low as 5 per cent. 

Water Quality Criteria for Designated Best Use in India
S.No.CriteriaDesignated Best Use
1Total coliform bacteria 50 or less than 100 mlFor drinking water source after disinfection but without conventional treatment.
2pH between 65 and 8.5
3Dissolved oxygen 6 mg/l or more
1Total coliform bacteria 500 or less than 100 mlFor outdoor bathing.
2pH between 6 .5 and 8 .5
3Dissolved oxygen 5 mg/l or more

Underground water availability has decreased due to :

(i) Loss from vegetation cover.

(ii) Diversion for high water demanding crops.

(iii) Pollution from industrial effluents and wastes.

From early times, methods of irrigation like dams, tanks and canals are in practice in India. They were used by local people in such a way that water requirements were easily available throughout the year. Use of water was regulated as per need.

But lately in British regime and in Independent India above system changed. Practices followed were

(i) Construction of large dams.

(ii) Long distance canals.

The above led to negligence of water demands of local people.


The importance of water to the life of plants can be emphasized best by enlisting its functions :

1. Water is the main constituent of protoplasm.

2. It is the solvent through which mineral salts are transported from one part of the plant to the other.

3. Various metabolic reactions take place in medium containing water.

4. It acts as a reactant in numerous metabolic reactions.

5. During photosynthesis, water releases oxygen.

6. Turgidity of the growing cells is maintained with water.

7. Various movements of plant organs like movements in sensitive plant (touch-me-not) are controlled by water.

8. The growth of the cells is mainly dependent on absorption of water.

9. Metabolic end product of respiration is water. 


The construction of big dams and river valley projects, which are required for hydroelectric power generation have affected the forests. Big dams and river valley projects have multipurpose uses and have been referred as "Temples of Modern India."

Large dams can ensure the storage of sufficient water for two purposes

(i) For irrigation purposes.

(ii) For generating electricity.

(iii) Canal system from these canals distribute water to far away places.

Highest Dam. Tehri Dam on river Bhagirathi in Uttaranchal.

Largest in capacity. Bhakra Dam on river Sutlej in H.P.

Indira Gandhi Canal has brought greenery to large areas of Rajasthan.

Mismanagement of water has largely led the benefits to a few people due to the following reasons :

(i) No equitable distribution of water.

(ii) People near the source usually get more water.

(iii) More discontent is particularly there in those persons who have been displaced due to building of dams etc.

The oustees of Tawa Dam in 1970's are still fighting for the benefits they were promised.

The harnessing of water resources like building Dams has social, economic and environmental implications. Alternatives to large dams exist. These are local specific. They should be developed. Control should be given to local people.

Damage caused due to building of dams :

(i) Large scale devastation of forests.

(ii) It imbalances ecosystem of the region.

(iii) Frequent occurrence of floods, droughts and landslides.

(iv) Loss in bio-diversity.

Criticism of large dams

(i) Social problems. Without adequate compensation, several peasants and tribals have been displaced.

(ii) Economic problems. Huge expenditure is involved for construction of these dams. Proportionate benefits are comparatively few.

(iii) Environmetal problems. Construction of dams leads to deforestation and loss of bio-diversity.

1. Tehri Dam on river Ganga

Tehri Dam is the highest one, on river Bhagirathi in Uttaranchal. This Dam across the river Bhagirathi, about 1.5 Km. downstream of Tehri, has been a subject of controversy. For example, during tunnelling process, tunnelling materials and by products of explosives has distrupted the natural set up of that area. Other affected factors are flow speed, transparency, temperature and dissolved oxygen. The crusade against the ecological damage and deforestation caused due to Tehri Dam was led by Sh. Sunder Lal Bahuguna, the leader of Chipko movement.

2. Save Narmada Movement

The cause of Sardar Sarover Dam has been taken up by the environmental activites Medha Patekar joined by Arundhati Roy and Baba Amte. The dam is present across Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh on river Narmada. Exclusive features are :

(i) Total area to be submerged underwater : 1,44,731 hectares of land.

(ii) Forest land affected : 56, 547 hectares.

(iii) Villages to be submerged by dam : 573.

Forest area affected

(i) For Narmada sagar : 40,000 hectares. 

(ii) For Sardar sarover. 13,800 hectares.

(iii) For Omkareshwar. 2,500 hectares.

Adjoing forests will also be affected due to construction of this dam. Few bad effects will be :

(i) Destruction of wildlife. Many of the animals are affected as mentioned in schedule I and II of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

(ii) It will lead to displacement of more than one million people. It affect many tribal people.

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