Year 2007 will be observed as "Water Year" with a series of programmes, focusing on the proper use of the water resources in the face of building aqua crisis, on the anvil. The proposal mooted by the Water Resources Ministry’s was accepted by the Union Cabinet on Thursday.
Part of the "Water Year" activities will be the setting up of a separate flood management authority. Advance planning and quick response to flood situations will be the key areas of the proposed authority’s focus, Water Resources Minister Saif-U-Din Soz said.
Faced with declining per capita availability of water, another area of focus during the year will be devising strategies to augment the usable water resources by creating additional infrastructure and adopting new management techniques, Soz added.
Apparently, China’s excellent per capita water storage capacity in comparison to India will be one of the motivational factors for the ministry to set new goals. As against China’s capacity of 1111 billion cubic meters, India’s present storage capacity is a dismal 207 CBM.
The ministry has sounded alarm bells on continuous decrease in per capita availability of water in the country. Population explosion and mismanagement of resources are the causes behind the fast dwindling resource, the minister observed.
According to the ministry estimates, per capita availability of water in 2025 will come down to 1341 BCM and 1140 BCM in 2050 much below the 1700 BCM water-stress threshold standard. The present water availability is estimated at 1869 BCM out of which only 1123 BCM is usable.
Soz said country’s water policy will be thoroughly reviewed and updated to prepare for the future challenges. A meeting of the National Water Resources Council is slated this year. It will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be attended by Chief Ministers and the Central Ministers.