While the new Jal Shakti Ministry is still practicing to hold the reins of the Indian water crisis, the northeastern state of India, Meghalaya has come out and approved a water policy to address the problem.
Amidst the water crisis that is affecting over 50% of the area in the country, a small north eastern state of Meghalaya has shown the leadership in addressing the uncomfortable matter head on. Last week it became the first Indian state to approve a draft water policy to address water issues, conservation, and protection of water sources in the state.
Following detailed discussions and deliberation with the ministers of the cabinet, the draft was approved on July 12.
Prestone Tynsong, Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya, said, “The policy intends to achieve sustainable development, management and use of water resources with community participation. This will improve health and livelihood and reduce vulnerability among the people. This will also assure of good governance for present and future generations through integrated water resources management and environmental sustainability.”
“Issues such as the protection of catchment areas and river pollution have also been outlined in the policy. Community participation is what we are looking for in as we want to reach to the villages with this policy,” he said.
The policy was drafted by the Meghalaya’s Water Resources department in consultation with experts in water conservation and protection of water bodies. Every year Meghalaya is inundated as Brahmaputra river floods annually soon after monsoons hit the Northeast region.
Tynsong also said that the committees will be formed at village level and the issue of groundwater will also be catered through this policy. Also, the department will also monitor the quality of the water to check if it has a high content of iron or if it’s acidic.
Among the other issues discussed on the policy was the need to optimise usage and conservation of water, steps needed to protect water bodies and water sources including ground water, and protection of catchment and springshed areas. The government has also announced that it will notify about the policy very soon.