SHIMLA: Having initiated hundreds of large, medium and small projects to harness hydro power potential of the state, Himachal Pradesh is now facing the challenge of ensuring proper utilization of available water resources. To achieve this goal, now the state government has framed a water draft policy-2013, which suggests setting up of ” water adalats” and adoption of traditional techniques like mulching or pitcher irrigation through capacity building.

The new draft policy states that with a growing population and rising needs of fast developing urbanization and higher living standards, as well as climate change, availability of utilizable water will be under further strain in future with the possibility of deepening water conflicts among different user groups. Guided by the traditional individual and community entitlements to water use enshrined in the Wazib-ul-arz (record of customary rights), the draft policy says that ‘Water Adalats’ may be devised as a conflict resolution mechanism under the aegis of the local panchayati raj institutions (PRls).

The State Water Policy seeks to make water everybody’s business and to catch rainwater where it falls or where it can be used optimally. Besides, it stresses on the need to harness water for commercial, industrial and hydro-power generation in a sustainable manner.

According to officials, some parts of the state have already become water stressed. Rapid growth in demand for water due to population growth, urbanization, changing lifestyle and industrialization pose serious challenges to water security, they said.

According to the draft policy, development and management of a river basin as a whole or sub basins should take place in a planned manner involving multi-disciplinary units that prepare comprehensive plans taking into account not only the needs of irrigation but also harmonizing various other water uses, so that the available water resources are determined and put to optimum use.