Effective Transfer of Technology and Knowledge, and Sharing of Experiences among Developed and Developing Countries needed to further the Cause of Efficient Water Management 

The 2nd India Water Week today began with a call to make judicious use of water and its proper management. The five day event was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee. Speaking on the occasion, the President said increasing occurrence of droughts and floods in India has underlined the need to find solutions to improve the management of water resources. Hence the available water must be managed judiciously to meet the twin burden of population growth and economic development.. He added that water conservation should be accorded the high priority that it deserves.

Welcoming the President Union Water Resources Minister Shri Harish Rawat gave a detailed account of his ministries efforts in exhibiting the importance given to the water sector in the country. He said Effective transfer of technology and knowledge, and sharing of experiences among developed and developing countries, and their implementation, need to be promoted, to further the cause of efficient water management. Moreover, growing population and urbanisation, combined with fast increasing developmental needs, have put a tremendous pressure, on our water availability. We are now a country of more than 1.21 billion people, which is about 18% of the world’s population, with 4% of the total usable water and 2.3% of the agriculturable land available in the world.

The minister said we are now already a water stressed nation, and with further reduction in per capita availability of water, we will soon be a water scarce nation”. The present per capita water availability stands 1,545 cubic meterper year. By 2050, the per capita availability of water, will further decrease to 1,140 cubic meter.

Even to meet this requirement, in 2050, India needs storage capacity of 450 BCM. At present, the water storage capacity,available with us,is about 253 BCM. Keeping inview this gigantic task, the National Water Policy of 2012, has identified this as the major thrust area, he added.

He thanked the Planning Commission, and the Cabinet, for putting due emphasis on Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, which also includes supports for Extension, Renovation and Modernization of the existing projects. The scheme for Repair, Renovation and Restoration, is also a popular programme, having an outlay of 6235 crore in 12 Plan. We are also giving priority to Dam Rehabilitation Improvement Project,for improving the safety performance of the existing Dams.

Shri Harish Rawat said Himalayas are the areas, from where most of our northern rivers originate. During the last one-and-half decades, most of the water springs in hilly and semi-hilly areas have vanished, due to certain reasons. It has resulted in drying up of many of our perennial rivulets, and tributaries, including small local lakes, during non-monsoon seasons. It has already adversely affected the water flow of some of our major rivers. We urgently need to address this problem, in the areas of their origin, by encouraging water harvesting, and smaller storage structures in these upstream catchment areas. For this purpose, we are constituting a Committee, to go into the details, and plan for rain water harvesting in these areas, and building small structures in the Himalayan, and sub-Himalayan regions.

The National Water Policy of 2012 rightly recommends the purpose of Integrated Water Resources Management approach,taking river basin/sub basin as a unit, for planning development and management of Water Resources. This approach will help, in not only increasing water use efficiency, but also minimizing the damage to the soil, and will help in mitigating the flood problems, in several part of the country.

To move forward, Ministry of Water Resources has decided, to undertake satellite mapping of the flood prone areas, under Flood Management Programme. The water use efficiencies, need to be improved, through continuous water balance and water accounting studies. An institutional arrangement, for promotion, regulation and evolving mechanisms, for efficient use of water in basin/sub-basin will be established for this purpose, at the national level, Shri Rawat added.

Also, to give a Mission mode emphasis, to the need of increasing water use efficiency, and planned development and management of Water Resources, National Water Mission has been launched by theMinistry, under National Action on Climate Change. Its objective is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage, and ensuring its more equitable distribution, both across and within States, through integrated water resources development and management”.

He said Effective transfer of technology and knowledge, and sharing of experiences among developed and developing countries, and their implementation, need to be promoted, to further the cause of efficient water managementand hoped that India Water Week 2013, will be able to provide opportunities, to usher in new & innovative thinking, and will come out with the best practicable solutions.

Dr. S.K.Sarkar Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources welcomed the dignitaries while Shri S.Mohan Kumar, Special Secretary in the Ministry of Water gave vote of thanks.

The India Water Week-2013 is targeted at International and National audience comprising of policy planners and technologists involved with water resources management in all key sectors of economy like Agriculture and Irrigation, Energy and Industry.

Courtesy: PIB govt. of india