Energy & Environment

Fashion Industry’s Dirty Secret: The Connection Between Water Use and Groundwater Depletion

Groundwater depletion due to fashion industry

Groundwater Depletion, a term which we know as long-term water-level decline caused by sustained groundwater pumping, is a key issue associated with groundwater use. 

It is becoming a major problem in the world as the level of the water present on the surface of the earth is reducing severely which has become a most important topic to talk about.

Reasons for Groundwater Depletion

Bangladesh is the 2nd of all the major exporters of clothes all over the globe, the clothes which are worn in various European countries by people are made in Bangladesh .

It exports denim to America and is among their top exporters. 

As the cloth here is cheaper the textile owner, retailer and the customer enjoys the treat of it but all the waste or I should say burden is borne by the environment.

Factories use gallons of water to make clothes due to which the  water level is reducing rapidly. 

According to Dr. Peticie Piry the water is not available for drinking for every individual, we don’t use water according to the need but use it  for making clothes which are cheaper or will be hardly worn twice or thrice then will be dumped”. 

Cloth producing factories use abundance of water as water is required for dying and washing of the material 

For example : 1kg of denim requires 250 L of water similarly 1kg of cotton fabric requires 200-300 L of water.

Overall in Bangladesh 1500 billion gallons of water is being used for the production of clothes in the country for export purposes. 

With this amount of water the capital city of Dhaka which has a population of approx. 2-2.5 crore can live on this much water for about 10 to 12 months. 

The cloth making factories take water supply from underground water which causes depletion. According to Mohammad walid ul islam who is an agricultural officer states that the village near Sawar has started facing the depletion of water as it has major cloth producing factories nearby from the past 2 decades. 

He said that ,”In 1920 the water level was 20-30 ft down.”

 In 2008, we built our first tube well for which we dug 15ft down. Recently we had to dig more to reach water. It was about 27ft down. The factories are to be blamed for this.” 

To know how much the water level has gone down the team of D.W did a survey of the sites where the water level has reduced severely since 2011. With new farming technologies the ground level of water can be improved.

This youtube video gives a perfect overview of the reasons for groundwater depletion.

As an aware citizen what can we do to solve this problem to an extent.

Some measures which government and we can take to reduce groundwater Depletion:

1 ) Conservation and efficient use of water: 

 If we will use water efficiently in households, agriculture, and industries and will also Promote water-saving technologies and practices such as low-flow fixtures, drip irrigation systems, and water recycling in industries, water can be saved to great extent.

2) Public awareness and education: 

Governments should organize such programs which increase public awareness about the importance of groundwater and the need for its sustainable use. 

Educate individuals, communities, and stakeholders about water conservation, efficient practices, and the consequences of groundwater depletion.

3) Alternative water sources: 

This step can be taken by us normal citizens. Explore alternative water sources like treated wastewater or desalination to reduce reliance on groundwater for nonpirtable uses.

4) Research and innovation:

 Support research and development efforts to improve water management techniques, develop efficient water treatment technologies, and explore new approaches to water conservation and recharge.

5) Afforestation and vegetative cover: 

Try practicing afforestation and the preservation of vegetative cover, particularly in areas with high groundwater recharge potential. Vegetation helps to reduce soil erosion, promotes infiltration, and enhances groundwater recharge.

6) Land-use planning: 

Incorporate groundwater considerations into land-use planning processes. 

Avoid excessive extraction in areas with limited recharge potential or where the aquifers are already stressed. Encourage sustainable agricultural practices and urban development to minimize water demand.

7) Efficient irrigation practices:

Government should encourage farmers to adopt efficient irrigation methods such as sprinkler or micro-irrigation systems, which minimize water loss through evaporation or runoff. 

8) Groundwater banking:

If the government establishes groundwater banking systems where excess surface water or treated wastewater can be injected into aquifers during times of high availability. These stored reserves can be extracted during dry periods, reducing reliance on groundwater pumping.

9) Water pricing and incentives:

Government implementing water pricing structures that encourage responsible water use. 

Providing incentives, rebates, or subsidies for water-efficient technologies, equipment, or practices to encourage their adoption.

These were some of the Measures which the government and we normal citizens can take for prevention of GroundWater Depletion.

Yes, the Government would provide funds and they are trying their best. On the other hand we should also try their best to do some kind of prevention to solve the problem.

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