Published Date: Dec 8, 2012
Sustainability concepts for water quality protection (SDPI Press Release)
We need an integrated approach for water quality protection, to maintain biological integrity and to better address water pollution in urban environments for a sustainable future, said Dr Xavier Swamikannu, while giving a special lecture on “Sustainability concepts for water quality protection” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday. Faisal Nadeem Gorchani, Coordinator Policy Advocacy and Outreach moderated the proceedings.
Dr Xavier Swamikannu, US Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leadership Fellow, Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi, India is an expert on regulatory control of urban water pollution. He holds a Doctorate degree in environmental science and engineering from the University of California and also served as Chief of the Storm Water Program at California Environmental Protection Agency’s (CalEPA) until January 2010.
Dr Xavier talked of ‘Stormwater Runoff Pollution’ which is produced from a developed landscape during storms. He maintained that it accumulates and transports much of the collective waste of the urban environment into surface water sources and becomes the primary source of impairment in rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
He expressed that urban land areas and land development are increasing at a rapid pace. This urbanization, he said, has altered the hydrological patterns and a radical difference has been observed in water flow regimes after the urbanization. He cited some of implications of urbanization on water quality such as loss of water-retaining and evapotranspirating functions of the soil and vegetation in the urban landscape.
He also proposed measures for water quality protection and to better manage water pollution in urban environments. He suggested nonstructural controls such as better site design, retrofitting, downspout disconnection and conservation of natural areas to dramatically reduce the volume of runoff and pollutant loading from a new development. He emphasized on to control pollution at the source rather than to treat regionally. He also urged to promote aquatic resource conservation design during land development to maintain predevelopment hydrology.
During the question-answer session, the participants urged that Capital Development Authority to learn from the North American urban water management experiences. They also questioned the hypothesis of relationship between storm pollution and surface water, relevance of atmospheric pollution with urban storm and surface water hypothesis, high concentration of persistent pollutants in cotton growing areas of Pakistan and their negative implications for populations, over-pumping of water through tube-wells in Indian Punjab and their implications on adjacent Pakistan areas with reference to saline water of Faisalabad drifting towards Lahore and the limited use of arsenic in Pakistan.