India plays a vital role in the community of nations in 21St century. To maintain this objective, it has to provide better water services, eliminate poverty, optimum utilization of land and natural resources and to provide full employment to people residing in it. Water acts as very basis of human life. Sustainable and equitable use of water over millennia has to be ensured through water conservation methods, agricultural systems and conservation based systems. But, population growth, urbanization, industrialization etc. in few decades have made the increasing pressure on water supply. Overuse and pollution of water resources has deteriorated the quality of water.
Problems such as inadequate coverage, intermittent supply, deteriorating infrastructure, poor water access and environmental unsustainability of water increased as urban water supply sectors in India are facing severe shortages in investment and inadequate operation and maintenance.
India is considered as water short country and the National government is expected to give first most priority to water resource management to provide adequate drinking water to all. Efforts must be taken in implementing a national water strategy for sustainable development, usage of water and allocation of water resources for various uses including the crucial area of supplying drinking water to all. Such policies or strategies must include:
• Providing special importance for drinking water components
• Establishing workable water Infrastructural systems so that National, regional and Local water requirements can be achieved.
• Enforcing water regulations which help in conservation of water
• Associating water management to the needs of municipalities, industry and agriculture in a former line.
The PREAMBLE of Water policy-2012 states that water is a natural resource and is basic to life, food security, livelihood and sustainable development, but water is considered as scarce resource in India as it has 18% of World’s population but inadequate percentage of water i.e 4% is available. There are further limits on utilizing and distributing water over time and space.
Hence to compensate the above stated problems, National Water Policy-2012 was published on 7th June 2012 by Ministry of Water resource, which helps in addressing issues such as scarcity of water, inequalities in distribution of water, lack of unity perspective in planning, management and use of water resources. This Policy has laid benchmarks for water supply, its distribution, and management which every infrastructure plan and every city should follow it to have a command over the problems.
Water Framework Law
It states that a Framework must be established to check the water policies by state and national bodies in order to efficiently manage ground water and other water resources. This should be further checked by further vital policies which are established by local bodies to secure water resources at micro level. The exploitation of ground water and other water tributaries must be governed and alleviate by comprehensive reforms. This can only be achieved by interaction among the local and national government where both can equally participate as a team to mitigate water related issues.
Water use and How do we deal with it?
Water is said to be basis of life. It is required for many purposes such as agricultural, recreation, domestic purpose, hydro-power, thermal power etc. Due to lack of knowledge among people about the scarcity of water, misuse of freshwater, growing scarcity poses a serious threat to sustainable development.
Basically, an exhaustive arranging ought to be worked for water assets out remembering the geological conditions. It has to have typical point of view thinking about neighborhood, provincial state and nation wide needs. Social equity and reasonable value must be kept up at all cost. The components of water cycle are to be taken in consideration as they are basis for hydrological planning since crisp water supply is presently restricted over the long haul more spotlight ought to be put on farming practices which streamlines the utilization of water in meantime amplifying its esteem.
Adaptation to climate change
The change in climate is said to expand the changeability of water assets influencing human health. Harmful emissions like CO2, greenhouse gasses etc. have created a high risk in climate change. The change in climate led to extreme floods, receding glaciers and severe droughts which have created problems in management of water resources. Water shortage must be taken seriously and there should be establishment of alternatives to reduce stress on existing water bodies and mitigate the problems occurring due climate change. Better demand management strategies should be adopted. Participation of stakeholders should be promoted and steps must be initiated to reduce erosions and inundations.
Demand management and Water pricing
Considering India remains Agriculture based economy, water must be saved in irrigation and cultivation practices in order to reduce the scarcity of water resources in near future. It has also been noticed that there is increase in demand of water due to increase in urbanization, industrialization and economic development. The ground water which is polluted from surface sources and damaged intrusion of salt water can be recycled and reused after treatment to certain standards, and then efficient water use can be encouraged. Water pricing in India has been following many objectives in order to how and where the water should be used in efficient amount and manner. Hence the water charges will be determined on basis of efficiency and economic principles which are to be designed in such a way to give importance basic uses of life like food security and sanitation. Water users associations should accept powers to collect water costs and manage the quantum of water allotted to them and keep distributing the water resources.
Conservation of Water bodies and Infrastructure
The eco-systems which are rich in aquatic animals, wet lands and flood plains must be considered in planning for conservation of water as well as the lives of animals. In recent years it has been noticed that there is declination in number of wetlands due to imbalance in climatic conditions and therefore the ones which are existing must be taken utmost care. Industrial and domestic waste which pollute water must be taken into notice and prevent them from contaminating the water as it affects the ecology of water system. In past few years riverfront projects are executed for recreational purpose and to uplift the economic condition of state at the cost of water body and its maintenance. The water infrastructure should be conserved and protected with utmost care.
Water Supply and Sanitation
There has always been an issue of water supply in country zones and furthermore the absence of sanitation. These problems are faced mostly in rural areas in India. In this way, there has to be legal water supply framework in remote spots and sewerage offices. Water supply can be served through characterizing the supply in different segments and observing the measure of use. Urban water supply and sewerage frameworks have to be consistently checked on and if fundamental should roll out suitable improvements. The new water utilized for drinking reason has not changed with other low nature of water as it influences the general cleanliness of human beings.
A forum should be structured at national and also state level to resolve issues related to water supply, demand and distribution between different states or different parts of state. Various strategies should be established to resolve conflicts equitably and community should also be involved. Private sector may also be associated to improve the service but with some regulations. The basic data related to water resource should be collected and utilized to assess water quality and for appropriate water budgeting.
For International Rivers, agreements should be made with neighboring countries regarding sharing of water and hydrological real time data keeping National interest as priority.
Database and Information System
Hydrological data other than that for national security should be in public domain. There has to be Centre to collect, organize and process data from all over the nation, process it and maintain as open data on GIS platform should be established and utilized for decision making process during planning process.
The challenges of water management and governance should be addressed in India. The report of Indian Infrastructure-2011 brings a macro level view of opportunities, rights, conflicts and policies framework in rural as well as urban areas to take into account the concerns of equity, efficiency and sustainability of water resources. As the government local bodies are failing to bring changes in water allocation, management and planning of policies, institutional reforms must be setup that are required in those areas. Hence it is the responsibility of policy makers and planners to concentrate more on regulations, permits and penalties which will help in using water resources efficiently.