Now I am discussing about Policy Issues on Water Depletion in our country India..
The National Water Policy (NWP)
India had revised the NWP in 2002 with the following salient features (Government of India, 2009):
- Establishment of National and State level data banks to monitor the demand and supply;
- Facilitation for transformation of available water resources into utilisable water;
- Non-conventional methods for efficient water use;
- Supply of water from water surplus areas to water shortage areas;
- Judicious allocation of water for different uses and pricing of water to ensure sustainable development;
- Regulation on ground water exploitation and close monitoring of water table using modern scientific techniques;
- Sustainability of existing water bodies, involving all the stakeholders and local communities;
- PPP for water resource development and distribution;
- Master plan for flood control, by linking different rivers and promoting soil conservation measures;
- Development of drought prone areas through watershed development, afforestation and sustainable farming practices;
- Interstate water sharing policy and timely addressing of disputes.
Over the last 10 years, the situation has changed drastically and the progress in the water sector has not been keeping up with the expected target. It was therefore felt necessary to bring further changes in the policy, particularly in the following areas:
Changes proposed in the National Water Policy:
- Agriculture Sector
- Improvement in water usage efficiency;
- Adoption of rainwater harvesting and watershed management techniques;
- Reduction of subsidies on power supply particularly for pumping water;
- Prevention of ground water exploitation by introducing differential pricing, rewards and punishments;
- Implementation of National River Link project which aims to connect 30 rivers and canals to generates 175 trillion litres of water.
- Industrial Sector
- Encourage recycling and treatment of industrial wastewater through regulations and subsidies;
- Encourage introduction of new technologies which consume less water.
- Domestic Sector
- Introduction of a policy for mandatory rainwater harvesting in cities;
- Propagation of efficient water usage;
Creation of awareness about water conservation among common public.
Control of Water Pollution:Excessive use of water for agriculture, industries and domestic uses is leading to water pollution, because such excess water is transformed into saline water, sewage or effluent. Thus, rewards and punishments should be introduced for persuading people to make optimum use of the precious water. Discharge of sewage and affluent into water bodies and rivers must be banned and recycling of waste water must be pursued and enforced. This will help in keeping the water sources clean and reducing the future demand for water. Treated sewage and effluent can be used for agriculture and industrial production.
Half of Our Rivers are Like this..
Desalination of Sea Water: Over 70% of the global water resources being saline, economic desalination of sea water is an excellent option to meet the future shortage of sweet water particularly to meet the human consumption. Presently, desalination of sea water is expensive and non-popular. However, with solar power, desalination can be a viable alternative to meet the water needs in coastal areas.
Research and Development:There is a need for investing in research related to ground water monitoring, weather forecasting, breeding water efficient and drought resistant crops and varieties which can cope up with the changing climatic conditions, arising due to global warming.
India is not a water deficit country, but due to severe neglect and lack of monitoring of water resources development projects, several regions in the country experience water stress from time to time. Further neglect in this sector will lead to water scarcity during the next 1-2 decades. It is therefore necessary to prevent this crisis by making best use of the available technologies and resources to conserve the existing water resources, convert them into utilizable form and make efficient use of them for agriculture, industrial production and human consumption. Imposing regulatory measures to prevent the misuse of water and introducing rewards and punishment to encourage judicious use of water, will be helpful to conserve water. Finally, awareness and orientation of all the water users to change their lifestyle to conserve water, can help the country to tide over the water crisis in the future. The challenge is manageable provided we have favorable policies and mechanisms to persuade our people to change their lifestyle.