- With the declining availability of fresh water and increasing demand, the need has arisen to conserve and effectively manage this precious life giving resource for sustainable development
Preventing water pollution
- Central Pollution Control Board, in association with states, have been monitoring the water quality of rivers and other water bodies across the country through a network of monitoring stations under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme
- Cleaning / rejuvenation of rivers is an ongoing process. It is the responsibility of the states and local bodies to ensure required treatment of sewage and industrial effluents to the prescribed norms before discharging into water bodies, coastal waters or land to prevent and control of pollution therein.
- The Union ministry has supplemented efforts of states / UTs by providing financial and technical assistance for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers in the country through the Namami Gange scheme for rivers in the Ganga basin, as well as through the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for other rivers
- The legislative provisions such as the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974, and Environment Protection Act 1986 need to be implemented more effectively
- Also, there is a strong need to generate public awareness about importance of water and impacts of water pollution
Recycling and Reusing of water
- Use of water of lesser quality such as reclaimed waste-water would be an attractive option for industries for cooling and fire fighting
- In urban areas water after bathing and washing utensils can be used for gardening
- Despite the avenue for reuse, Only 30 per cent of India’s wastewater is recycled
- It refers to efficient management and conservation of surface and groundwater resources
- It involves prevention of runoff and storage and recharge of groundwater through various methods like percolation tanks, recharge wells, etc
- Haryali is a watershed development project sponsored by the Central Government which aims at enabling the rural population to conserve water for drinking, irrigation, fisheries and afforestation. The Project is being executed by Gram Panchayats with people’s participation
- There is need to increase water usage efficiency, with use of Sprinklers and drip irrigation techniques
- Also, in regions where there is deficit rainfall, implementation of dryland agricultural techniques could help
- It is a method to capture and store rainwater for various uses. It is also used to recharge groundwater aquifers
- Rainwater harvesting increases water availability, checks the declining ground water table, improves the quality of groundwater through dilution of contaminants like fluoride and nitrates, prevents soil erosion, and flooding and arrests salt water intrusion in coastal areas if used to recharge aquifers
- Traditional rain water harvesting in rural areas is done by using surface storage bodies like lakes, ponds, irrigation tanks, etc.
- Urban areas can specially benefit from rainwater harvesting as water demand has already outstripped supply in most of the cities and towns.
- The issue of desalinisation of water particularly in coastal areas and brackish water in arid and semi-arid areas, could be addressed by transfer of water from water surplus areas to water deficit areas through inter linking of rivers
The Policy initiatives for water conservation in India
- National Water Policy (2012) has been formulated by Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, which advocates rainwater harvesting and conservation of water and highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through direct use of rainfall
- Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has been constituted under Section 3 (3) of the “Environment (Protection) Act, 1986” for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water development and management in the Country
- The ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ has been launched in 2019 with focus on five aspects
- water conservation and rainwater harvesting
- renovation of traditional and other water bodies
- reuse of water and recharging of structures
- watershed development
- intensive afforestation
- Drinking Water Sanitation
- Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), a Rs.6000 crore scheme with World Bank funding, for sustainable management of ground water with community participation is being taken up in the identified over-exploited and water stressed areas fall in the States of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
- Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater- 2020 has been prepared by CGWB in consultation with States/UTs which is a macro level plan indicating various structures for the different terrain conditions of the country
- Department of Water Resources, RD& GR has instituted National Water awards to incentivize good practices in water conservation and ground water recharge.
- Mass awareness programmes (Trainings, Seminars, Workshops, Exhibitions, Trade Fares and Painting Competitions etc.) are conducted from time to time each year under the information, Education & Communication (IEC) Scheme of DoWR, RD & GR in various parts of the Country to promote rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water
- Central Government supports construction of water harvesting and conservation works primarily through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana – Watershed Development Component (PMKSY-WDC).