“WATER IS LIFE” – Value It

by Ammara Naqvi, Pakistan, ELP 2014
Written on July 19, 2014.

Image iconammara-1-247x300_2.pngHi I’m Ammara Naqvi from Pakistan. I have had the privilege to be here at the ELP. I have been here at UC Berkley for the past two weeks and time is flying so fast. We are learning invaluable information and having exciting experiences of sharing knowledge and views with my global counterparts from 35 countries, understanding and developing a well-knit fabric for preservation and global sustainability.

I am from Pakistan and many things that people in the developed world take for granted are not the case for me. For example, we were told on day 1 as part of the orientation that tap water is drinkable and tastes good as it is sourced from the Sierra Nevada snowmelt. And it does taste great and it’s free. Back home we suffer from many waterborne issues that affects our health, so it’s not as simple as turning on the tap and drinking.

I’m learning so much from being here, even simple methods to conserve water. What impresses me the most is the simplicity of the ideas but how they have found their way into everyday use. I suspect most people do not see these as innovative since they are common practice. Examples I have seen around the university include:

  1. Automated sensor regulated water taps, toilet flushing and shower systems in the washrooms are quite effective in saving water.
  2. To preserve soil moisture, mulch and dry leaves are used in the landscape area as you can see in pictures. All of the plantation areas in and around the university premises are covered with mulch. I like this idea as one of the best methods of growing healthy plants and conserving water is to use mulch in the landscape. Mulch is a protective ground covering that saves water, reduces evaporation, prevents erosion, controls weeds, and in the case of organic mulches, enriches the soil. I would like to share this idea with the agriculturists of my country who often have water issues for irrigation in soaring hot summers.
  3. To capture the rainwater, a 12,000-gallon tank is installed in Boalt Law School. This is to capture storm runoff from impervious surfaces (i.e. rooftops and plaza) for the purpose of irrigating the landscape. The rainwater is collected and distributed to the various planters and landscape areas via an irrigation controller and pump.

We have been on a number of field trips including a tour of the Full Belly Farm, Capay Valley Vineyard, Pezzini Farms and Salinas Valley whose management inspired me, particularly the techniques and strategies they are using in agriculture with minimum use of water resources, yet still maximizing production.

I believe there is a water crisis in many countries if not across the world, and it is a major issue that needs further recognition and management. Access to safe and clean drinking water is a major challenge in Pakistan. The sector analysis of water availability and consumption in Pakistan shows that per capita water availability has been decreasing over time due to the combined impact of population growth, falling water flows, systems losses and erosion in storage capacity. Our irrigation system uses about 93% of the water currently available, and the rest is used for supplies to urban and rural populations and industry.

Water is the most essential component of life and is vital for survival. It is truly one of nature’s precious gifts to mankind. Only if we implement good water conservation habits now can we save our precious resource for ourselves and for generations to come.

As we all know “Water is Life” and “Without water, there is no life, & no beauty in the world, all green covered landscapes, deep blue oceans & rainbows across the sky are due to water.”

Image iconammara-5-300x243_2.png Water sprinkling in the Leaf Lettuce field

Image iconammara-4-300x238_2.png Mulching to preserve the soil moisture

Image iconammara-3-300x248_2.png Mulching to preserve the soil moisture

Image iconammara-2-300x250_2.png Mulching to preserve the soil moisture