New Water Policy Soon Says Jal Shakti Ministry

At the ongoing India water week, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat announced that a new water policy will soon be unveiled.

An updated version of a National Water Policy with key changes in the Water Governance Structure and Regulatory Framework will soon be announced, says Jal Shakti Ministry. The ministry also adds that it plans to set up National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency as well.

The following was announced at the inauguration of the 6th India Water Week-2019 in Delhi. The Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that “hydrological boundaries rather than administrative or political boundary should become part of the water governance structure in the country” and will become a part of new water policy. He said, for this consensus-building among the states within the Constitutional framework is a necessary pre-condition.

Shekhawat added that water conservation along with water-harvesting and judicious and multiple uses of water is key to tackle the water challenges in India.  He called for rejuvenation and revitalization of the traditional water bodies and resources through the age-old conservation methods, the Minister underlined the need for dissemination of modern water technologies in an extensive fashion.

The minister also floated the idea of Water Trade, Shekhawat said that water surplus states like Chhattisgarh can gain by sharing the resource with the deficient ones. He also asked the States to collect data on water resources and to share the same with others with an open mind.

Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria talked about the demand side management of water and said that it ‘should get priority over the supply side management’. He again called for massive conservation of the scarce resource. Underlining the need for recycling and reuse of water, he said that Integrated Water Management is a tool for poverty reduction and sustainable economic development.

Speaking about the updated water policy, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, U.P Singh said that National Water Policy of 2012 needs major updating in the light of new challenges like the ill-effects of climate change. He batted for policy changes for giving incentive to crops using less water, and Singh said that Participatory Ground Water Management “should be promoted in a big way to maintain quality and sustainability”.

This year India Water week was inaugurated on 24th of September by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind with a theme of “Water cooperation: Coping with 21st Century Challenges”. Japan and the European Union were associated as partner countries for this mega event. The event, in its sixth edition, has been organized since 2012. About 1500 delegates from India and abroad participated in this event, which included about 63 delegates from 28 countries.

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