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Focus on incentivising water use efficiency: Water Resources Secretary

Nov 01, 2018


 

NEW DELHI, 1 November 2018: Mr U P Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, today highlighted the critical role of water use efficiency in industry and agriculture since augmenting supply was seriously constrained due to unsustainability of groundwater exploitation and unviability of building large dams. He emphasised on the demand side management, need for water use efficiency in agriculture.

Inaugurating the 4th Edition of 'India Industry Water Conclave on Sustainable Water Management' & 6th Edition of FICCI Water Awardsorganised by FICCI in association with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Mr Singh said that the severity of water scarcity was real as the rate of groundwater extraction was 200% more than the rate at which it was being recharged. Further, the days of building of large dams were numbered as the best sites had already been utilised, construction costs had skyrocketed and land acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement costs had made projects unviable.

The focus must therefore shift to managing demand, he said and emphasised the need for incentivising water use efficiency in agriculture and industry ground water management through water budgeting at the panchayat level.

Mr Singh also released the 'FICCI Compendium of Best Practices: Recognizing Excellence in Water Management & Conservation' and felicitated the winners of the FICCI Water Awards.

Dr Mihir Shah, Chair of the Jury for FICCI Water Awards, President, Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation and former Member, Planning Commission, said that the awards were an exemplar of the innovations that can address the water challenges of the 21st century, and carry examples that can be emulated throughout the country.

 

He emphasised the need for demand-side management, institutional restructuring, participatory approach involving farmers, revenue recovery and attention to the last mile connectivity.

 

Dr Shah also highlighted the problem of urban water management, which he described as far more serious than in the farm sector. In this context, he suggested the need for focussing on capacity building of urban local bodies in water management.

 

Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairperson, FICCI Water Mission and Past President, FICCI, spoke of the need to bring technology and innovation in the policy space so that innovations could flourish and business models on water use could be created. She underlined the need for a framework for collaborative thinking, planning and execution of water projects, an enabling policy environment that rewarded scaling up and incentivising innovation and technology.

 

She said the focus of FICCI Water Mission this year was on urban waste water management and therefore a new category of awards had been introduced to highlight its importance.    She said markets would play an important role in bringing water use efficiency and creating value.

Speaking on 'Policy Reforms Towards Sustainable Water Management', Mr Shashi Shekhar, Former Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR, Government of India, said that the role of private sector was crucial in sustainable water management. He added that we cannot ignore treatment and reuse of treated sewage water for all non-potable purposes. He said addressing reforms in water will require attention at rejuvenation of the riverine ecosystem. He emphasized on the need to change cropping patterns and raise awareness of the consumers to move towards less water intensive crops like millets, bajra, jowar.

Mr K C Naik, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board,  mentioned the importance of demand side management and added that extensive education of stakeholders, change of cropping pattern, creation of market frameworks, use of sprinkler irrigations and underground pipelines can be effective tools for sustainable management.

Mr Arun Lakhani, Chairman and Managing Director, Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd., said that there is a need for greater accountability for water and also a need for telescopic tariff and metering.

Mr Rajneesh Chopra, Global Head ´┐Ż Business Development, VA TECH WABAG LTD. spoke of the importance of introducing ratings for water use appliances for effective water conservation and management, and credit rating of municipalities, integrating water and wastewater management to achieve circularity.

FICCI Water Awards bagged by 5 corporates and Surat Municipal Corporation

 

The following are the six awardees of the FICCI Water Awards which comprise five corporates and a Municipal Corporation:

 

-          ITC Maurya was awarded the first prize in the category of ´┐ŻIndustrial Water Efficiency´┐Ż for demonstrating its commitment to reducing its consumption of water by investing in efficiency improvements across a wide-range of areas within its premises.

 

-          In 'Innovation in Water Technology', the first position was jointly shared by TranschemAgritech Private Limited and Watsan Envirotech Private Ltd. Transchem Agritech Private Ltd. has developed a bio-filter for usage in waste-water treatment. This bio-filter cannot just treat industrial effluents but domestic sewage as well. Watsan Envirotech Private Ltd. Has developed a Natural Terafil, Arsenic & Fluoride removal water filters.

 

-          The third position was bagged by the NTPC Limited in recognition of their contribution to thermal power generation in India and the potential for scaling-up the innovation in this plant across NTPC's plants in the country.

 

-          HSBC - WASH Project, in partnership with South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE) -won the first prize in the 'Community Initiatives by industry' category, for its holistic approach to sustainable water and sanitation.

 

-          In the Category 'Urban Wastewater Management', the first prize was received by Surat Municipal Corporation, for their exemplary work in the Urban Wastewater Management category. They were the sole winners in this category. Surat Municipal Corporation has demonstrated a well-planned, integrated approach to urban water management backed by a comprehensive use of technology, data and analytics and recognition of not just the need to influence consumer behaviour but to respond to their needs. Surat Municipal Corporation could serve as an example of sustainable water management in a city for the rest of this country.