● Social Responsibilities
Water, which seems to be an abundant natural resource, is in distress due to lack of proper water management. If timely action is not taken in this regard, the consequences can be severe. Realizing its importance and significance in today's times, ASSOCHAM organized a National Conference on Water Management on June 28, 2018.
Addressing the audience at the conference, Mr. U.P. Singh, Secretary , Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation said that substantially increasing wateruse efficiency and banning over extraction ofwater are important for rejuvenation of rivers like Ganga or Yamuna along with setting up sewage and industrial effluents' treatment plants. "Increasing water-use efficiency would not only make more water available to us but would also contribute in large way in rejuvenating our rivers", he said. Mr. Singh impressed upon the need to promote small surface storage and emphasise more on groundwater storage as constructing bigger dams like Bhakra-Nangal has become a difficult task owing to issues related to resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R), land acquisition, wildlife clearance, forest, biodiversity conservation and others.
In India water management is a bigger problem than scarcity of water. As per certain reports water availability in India continues to be what it used to be 50 years ago.
He said that India has water availability at 1,123BCM( billion cubic metre) whereas demand is somewhere around 700BCM. "Looking at the availability of water beneath the ground, lot of investments would be required to make it available to the user and though India is not at a stage of running out ofwater very quickly but we need to undertake proper measures for water conservation and harvesting."
He added that much has been talked about of supply side management i.e. how to augment the resources whereas we need to talk more about demand side management in a participatory mode.
Talking about the role of industry in terms of water conservation, sewage treatment and other related aspects, the Secretary said, "Onus is on the industry; public and private sector must work together to understand how government, industry and private players can participate as partners so that India can become a water
secure nation and does not go Cape Town way."
In his address at the ASSOCHAM National Conference, Mr. K. C. Naik, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) said that 2017 guidelines for issuance of NOCs (No Objection Certificates) as part of Government's Model Bill were being given a final shape.
The Government of India had circulated a Model Bill in 2005 asking all state governments to enact the same as water being a state subject they should control and manage it. In this Model Bill, agricultural sector being the backbone of Indian economy and livelihood of local farmers, it has been exempted whereas NOCs are required for industries, infrastructure and mining sectors.
He informed that the CGWB formulates guidelines for issuance of NOCs from timeto-time and the guidelines that had been issued in 2015 are in vogue now. But there were certain issues with the changing ground water av aila bili ty scenarios and the guidelines were again being revised in 2017 and were in the final stage.
"A committee has been constituted to finalise the guidelines that had been prepared, were uploaded on the websites and the comments from different state governments and central government agencies, NGOs and different stakeholders have already been received and these are being compiled," said Mr. Naik.
He also informed that CGWB had started compilation of national equatorial mapping of 76 blocks on priority basis by putting concerted efforts which are part of the 115 aspirational districts across the country identified by the Nit iAayog under Transformation of Aspirational District Program with an aim to quickly and significantly transform these districts in core focus areas of health and nutrition, agriculture and water resources, education, financial inclusion, skill development, basic infrastructure and others.
"There are 1,173 assessment units are there out of which 56are over-exploited-and 20are critical," further said the CGWB chief.
Sharing the industry's perspective, Dr Mahesh Gupta, CMD, KentRO Systems Pvt. Ltd. suggested the government to support private sector in setting up water purifying machines in public places to minimise the problems arising out of drinking water scarcity and use of bottled water.
Dr Mahesh Gupta, CMD, Kent RO Systems Pvt. Ltd, Dr. H. P Singh Chairman, National Council on Agriculture and Food Security, ASSOCHAM & Independent Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., Mr. U. P Singh Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India, Dr. Om S. Tyagi, Assistant Secretary General, ASSOCHAM and Dr. K. D. Gupta, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Waste Management Council.
Dr. Om S. Tyagi, Assistant Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, Dr. Mahesh Gupta, CMD, Kent ROSystems Pvt. Ltd, Dr. H. P.Singh, Chairman, National Council on Agriculture and Food Security, ASSOCHAM & Independent Director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., Mr. U. P.Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India,Dr. K. D. Gupta, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Waste Management Council, Mr. K. C. Naik, Chairman, Central Ground Water Board, Mr. Rajiv Mittal, Managing Director and Group CEO,VA Tech Wabag Ltd. and Mr. Nilachal Mishra, Partner, KPMG.