Govt to focus on demand-side of water management: Union for Jal Shakti, Sh. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
24th January 2020, New Delhi: Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hon’ble Union Minister, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India, today said that now the time has come to focus on supply-side management of water conservation instead of just demand-side management.
While speaking at the 5th edition of India Industry Water Conclave and 7th edition of FICCI Water Awards, organized by FICCI, the Union Minister said that the government also already started adopting the latest technologies in water management. He said that rural areas are not getting covered with 3D aquifer mapping to ensure the exact water level in the area. “We have to ensure as to how we can reduce the water usage, recycle it and re-use it,” added Shri Shekhawat.
He said that the National Groundwater Management Improvement Scheme, (worth Rs 6000 crores), will be supported with financial assistance from World Bank, Rs 3000 crores and remaining by the government through budgetary support.
He further said that the government has recently launched ‘Atal Bhujal Yojna’ which is a groundwater management scheme and it is based on the participation by all concerned stakeholders. “First time we have initiated a pilot scheme for demand-side management which will cover 400 districts in 7 states”, he added.
The Union Minister said that state participation is key in solving the issue of water management and emphasized the need for adopting best practices that states have already implemented in water conservation. “There is a need to expand the time-tested proven technologies and government is working in that direction,” he said.
Highlighting the role of the corporate sector in water management, Shri Shekhawat said that the government alone cannot solve the issue, hence all stakeholders including the corporate sector should come forward. “I urge the industry to come forward and invest in the hydrological system and can play an active role in promoting wastewater use,” he added.
Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India, emphasized on ‘People’s Participation’ and highlighted the government’s focus on the subsidiarity principle and the need for state action. He added that the government has set up an innovation task force to improve the efficiency of water. “Water is very much on the national agenda. Water conservation needs to be managed at the grassroots levels,” he said.
He said that source sustainability will become a critical part of Jal Jeevan Mission. He referred to four principles for water management including political leadership and people participation. He also emphasized the greater focus of the government highlighting the ABCDEF (Alignment, Belief, Communication, Delivery, Experience, Forum) of the implementation.
Shri Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India, urged the industry to play a responsible role in water conservation and reflect on the adoption of traditional practices and source sustainability. He also emphasized on the need for basin authority for effective and efficient water management.
Shri Singh added that the government is serious in ensuring water security but also suggested industry to also contribute to this. He further added that it is important that we create awareness about water literacy in the country.
Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairman, FICCI Water Mission and Past President, FICCI highlighted the need for a much stronger regulatory framework and also suggested having a national wastewater policy. She also urged for greater corporate stewardship.
“Water use efficiency is a key determinant in addressing both quantity and quality of water and for this, the circular approach towards water needs to be addressed at war footing to utilize water optimally across the industry, agriculture, and urban demands,” Ms. Kidwai added.
Dr. Mihir Shah, Chair, FICCI Water Awards and Chairman of the Government’s Committee to Draft the National Water Policy acknowledged the changing tradition towards the democratization of water and emphasized the need for active participation of primary stakeholders during the formulation of policy and regulatory measures for effective implementation.
Mr. Mukund Vasudevan, Co-chair, FICCI Water Mission, and Managing Director & Country Head, Ecolab also shared his perspective on water management.
The 7th edition of FICCI Water Awards was also given away during the event.
Industrial Water Use Efficiency Category: Arvind Limited was awarded 1st prize in the Industrial Water Use Efficiency Category for its efforts on water-efficient foam dyeing technology, Reverse Osmosis, desalination, and reuse of wastewater, steam condensation and condensate recovery system.
Innovation in Water Technology: SSP Private Limited was awarded 1st prize under the Innovation in Water Technology Category for their innovations on Reverse Osmosis to recover portable water and desalination of brine to recover water and table salt.
Water Initiative by NGO: WASH Institute and Pratiks Enviro Foundation were awarded joint 1st prize under the Water Initiatives by NGO Category. WASH Institute was awarded for its efforts on solid-liquid separation and sludge thickening and effluent treatment. Pratiks Enviro Foundation was awarded for its efforts on the anaerobic and anoxic process and for carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus removal.
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