Govt’s model Bill on water to stress on storage creation
With vast swathes in several states facing drought-like situation, the Centre is drafting a model Bill that would lay stress on creating large-scale rainwater storage facilities, efficient allocation of the valuable resource to states and involvement of the local populace in conservation efforts.
The Bill will recommend giving precedence to drinking water supply over allocation of the resource for agricultural and industrial purposes.
Union Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar attributed the current crisis in several states to poor demand-side management of water.
Noting that earlier model Bills, with focus on supply-side management measures like dam construction, did not yield desired results, Shekhar said the new legislation will urge states to adopt steps to recharge depleting groundwater levels, especially in floodplain areas of rivers.
Floodplain is a portion of land, stretching from river banks to the base of enclosing valley walls.
“Model laws were prepared earlier too. But those focused more on supply-side management like how we should construct dams, opt for rainwater harvesting. There was no emphasis on demand-side management like storing water, ensuring its efficient use by prioritising its allocation. This Bill will focus on that part,” he said.
Noting that India received rain hardly for 30-35 days during monsoon, he underscored the need for creating storage facilities, particularly underground, to cut losses caused by evaporation, besides conventional reservoirs and storage tanks.
“After storage, the issue is of how efficiently you use water for rest of the year,” he said.