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Water-The Way Forward

Why is proper water management emphasized?

1. The Government of India has put water as a top development agenda.

2. It has also emphasized on people’s movement along the line of Swachh Bharat Mission for water collection and conservation.

3. The aim is to achieve the goal of providing a safe and adequate piped water supply for all households.

What are the steps being taken?

1. Earlier, various ministries and departments worked on different aspects of water management.

2. The NITI Aayog has started integrating sub-sectors of water by creating an integrated water management index and ranking states on this basis.

3. The creation of the new Jal Shakti Ministry as a governance reform will have a positive and permanent impact on integration in the water sector.

4. This has integrated the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

5. Jal Shakti Abhiyaan is a collaborative effort of the Central and State Governments to accelerate progress in water conservation activities.

Which are the challenges?

1. Rainwater harvesting in India captures only 8% of its annual rainfall at present.

2. Almost 40% of piped water in urban areas is lost due to lack of proper maintenance.

3. Treatment and use of greywater are lacking.

4. Lack of piped water supply in rural households.

How the present budget supports water supply?

1. Government has the priority to provide piped water supply to all rural households by 2024 in a sustainable manner.

2. A budget of approximately Rs 10,000 crores for rural drinking water is provided for 2019-20 for the Jal Shakti Mantralaya.

3. Additional Rs. 10,000 crores are provided for Swachh Bharat Mission- Grameen.

4. The Jal Shakti Ministry will promote decentralized, but integrated, water resource management and service delivery.

5. Jal Shakti Ministry’s key focus is on water conservation, source sustainability, storage and reuse by involving the communities themselves.

Where else do we need to focus?

1. Surface water based multi-village schemes in areas affected by water quality issues.

2. Groundwater-based schemes with end-to-end source sustainability measures in groundwater rich areas.

3. Rainwater harvesting through household or community storage.

4. Local methods of water storage and conservation.

5. Developing infrastructure for collection and basic treatment of greywater can be done by simple waste stabilization ponds, constructed wetlands and similar local infrastructure projects to recycle this water for agriculture.

6. Making efficient use of agricultural water by micro-irrigation.

7. Water should not be considered an indefinite source and its wastage should be discouraged by all.

India is entering a water crisis situation and a holistic and integrated water management approach could secure national water by integrating fragmented institutions and making water security everyone’s responsibility.