संपादकीय

Rejuvenation of water bodies and resources is extremely important in a time

The water level in India's major reservoirs has fallen to 21 percent of the average of the last decade due to monsoon rains. Fourteen percent of the country's groundwater is receding rapidly as it is not being replenished.

©Priyanka Saurabh

{Research Scholar in Political Science, Poetess, Independent journalist and columnist}

As part of the government’s National Infrastructure Policy, the National Water Bureau is planning to establish efficiency and modern water policy. Building a consensus among states is the prerequisite for making this change. The first national water policy was formulated to regulate the planning and development and use of water resources. The first National Water Policy was adopted in 1987, followed in 2002, and subsequently reviewed and improved.

Emphasis on national water infrastructure requirement, comprehensive legislation for the correct development of inter-state rivers and river valleys, safe drinking water and sanitation, achieving food security, agriculture-dependent support for poor people for their livelihoods and a minimal eco-system High priority allocation to needs is considered to be economically sound so that it can be promoted, conserved and used efficiently.

There is an emphasis on adaptation strategies to climate change and acceptance criteria for the design and management of water resources structures. The system of developing benchmarks for water is used for various purposes, namely, to ensure efficient use of water. Project financing has been suggested as a tool to encourage the efficient and economical use of water.

The establishment of the Water Regulatory Authority has been recommended. Incentives for recycling and reuse have been recommended. It has also stated that water user associations should be given statutory powers to collect and maintain a portion of the water charge, manage the amount of water allocated to them and maintain the distribution area under their jurisdiction.

States should make adequate grants for technology, design practices, planning and management practices, preparation of annual water balances and accounts for site and basin, preparation of hydrological balances for water systems, and benchmarking and performance evaluation.

A lot of changes to the suggested policy are necessary. Privatization of water use must be defined, the revitalization of rivers needs to be revised. Technological innovation with sensors, GIS, and satellite imagery is required. There is a need to control the water due to having a good picture of their route and quantity.

 

This policy does not prevent use among those who can pay for water.

The policy does not follow the pollutant payment principle, rather it promotes effective treatment. The policy is criticized for calling water an economic one. It does not focus on water pollution

Monsoon delays and pattern changes in India, managing both the supply side and the demand side of the water, unprecedented heat waves that can be more frequent with climate change, water in India’s major reservoirs due to less pre-monsoon rainfall The level has fallen to 21 percent of the average for the last decade. Fourteen percent of the country’s groundwater is receding rapidly because it is not being replenished.

Most of India’s major water sources – underground waterways, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs – have to rely on monsoon rains to replenish them. About 600 million people, close to half the country, face severe crises from year to year. The Niti Aayog report said that the water demand would be twice the current supply and India could lose up to 6 percent of its GDP.

India’s water table is collapsing in most parts; Our groundwater contains fluoride, arsenic, mercury, even uranium. Groundwater and sand extraction from most of the river bed and valleys has become unstable. There is an encroachment on tanks and ponds. The wells and borewells are constructed with dangerous impurities to slide deeper and deeper to suck water at greater depths. Water is being diverted from food-crops to cash-crops; Livelihood for lifestyle; Rural to urban mismanagement is a major cause of the drought.

The World Resources Institute says that India’s capacity to produce electricity and 40% of thermal power plants are experiencing high water stress due to water scarcity. Not only farmers in cities and towns across India, but urban people are also suffering from a lack of drinking water.

Hydrological boundaries, rather than administrative or political boundaries, should be part of the water governance structure in the country. The sensitivity of states should be taken into consideration. The creation of consensus among states within the constitutional framework is a precondition for making changes. Water conservation, along with water harvesting and prudent and multiple uses of water, is critical to meet the water challenges facing India.

Rejuvenation and revival of traditional water bodies and resources are possible through centuries-old conservation methods. There is a need for the spread of modern water technologies. Water policy should be taken into account by all recommendations and warnings given by the NITI Aayog, a policy change initiative is necessary to encourage crops using less water.

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