All India Annual State Ministers’ Conference on Water

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    • Recently, the first All India Annual State Ministers’ Conference on Water began in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

    About

    • Background: 
      • The inter-state water disputes between several states are going on harming the water sharing scenarios.
    • Water is a State Subject: 
      • Although water is a state subject, it was the responsibility of all to make water a subject of collaboration, coordination, and cooperation between states.
    • Theme of Conference: 
      • ‘Water Vision @ 2047’.
      • It is an important dimension of the journey of ‘Amrit Kaal’ for the next 25 years.
    • Whole of Government Approach:
      • All governments should work like a system wherein there should be constant interaction and dialogue among different departments of state governments, such as those handling Water, Irrigation, Agriculture, Rural and Urban Development and Disaster Management.
    • Public participation will lead to more responsible behavior:
      • When the public is associated with a campaign, they also get to know the seriousness of the work. 
      • Due to this, a sense of ownership also comes in the public towards any scheme or campaign
    • Water Treatment:
      • When treated water is reused, fresh water is conserved, it benefits the entire ecosystem. 
      • That’s why water treatment and recycling is essential.
    • Post COVID:
      • The Indian economy has continued its growth trajectory despite COVID pandemic and it is estimated that by 2027, India will become the third largest economy in the world ahead of Germany and Japan. 
    • Economy: 
      • There is a direct correlation between economic growth and the consumption of electricity and water. 
      • From becoming a 3 to 5 trillion dollar economy and further a 10 trillion dollar economy, there is a need to discuss the water requirements and its availability at a macro level through such conferences.
    • Government Efforts:
      • The ‘Per Drop More Crop’ campaign that began under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) has helped bring more than 70 lakh hectares of land in the country under micro-irrigation so far.
    • State Efforts: 
      • The State of Madhya Pradesh is making a comprehensive water Policy which will be implemented soon.

    Significance

    • Awareness has increased through the efforts and initiatives taken by the Union and State governments. 
    • The Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Prime Minister, which brought together various organizations, Panchayats, NGOs, Celebrities etc., has started showing good results as can be seen through the ground water report released. 
    • This has led to a reduction in the over exploited, critical and semi critical number of blocks while safe blocks have increased because more work needs to be done in this field with a focused approach.

    Challenges/Issues 

    • India’s water availability of 4,000 BCM through rain, glaciers or international basins, out of which, total harvestable component which is usable is half of this. 
    • Climate change has changed rainfall patterns with scanty and erratic rainfall which has and continues to negatively impact this harvestable component. 
    • Rapid urbanization, increased demand of water and water pollution together have reduced the per capita availability of water from 5000 CM to 1500 CM and by 2047 it might further reduce to 1200 CM.
    • By 2047, our requirement is likely to surpass the availability of water and that is why there is a need for this conference to be held with all the States to holistically discuss this issue, chalk out a roadmap to ensure preparedness and contingency planning. 
    • Just like food is being calculated now based on its nutritious value not weight, similarly water requirements need to be measured in a more holistic manner
    • Increasing storage capacity through small storage facilities on the lines of Amrit Sarovars, is also challenging. 
    • Storage capacity reduction of dams due to sedimentation of reservoirs needs to be worked on and initiatives need to be taken in this regard so as to ensure optimal utilization of reservoir capacity.
    • There is a need to work on demand side management along with uninterrupted supply. Contamination of water resources needs to be stopped.

    Way Ahead

    • It is the states’ efforts for water conservation that will go a long way in achieving the collective goals of the country.
    • The states should adopt the Centre’s Namami Gange Mission as a template and start similar campaigns for the conservation of rivers.
    • The states need to adopt ways where the water budget is prepared at the panchayat level based on the quantity of water required in each village and the kind of work that can be done for it.
    • The states need to involve the public in the campaigns related to water conservation.
    • More thrust should be laid on natural farming as positive effects of water conservation have been noticed in places where natural farming is practiced. 
    • Crop diversification should be practiced but based on water availability.
    • The gram panchayats should prepare an action plan for the next five years where a roadmap ranging from water supply to cleanliness and waste management is considered. 

    Source: IE