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Two-day All India Secretaries’ Conference on ‘Water Vision @ 2047- Way Ahead’ concluded

New Delhi :- 

Action group of Secretaries proposed to take forward the focus areas of the agenda of Water Vision@2047

The two days ‘All India Secretaries’ Conference on Water Vision @ 2047 – Way Ahead’ concluded at Mahabalipuram, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) on yesterday with the key objective to strengthen the water security of the country. 32-States and Union Territories, 30-Secretaries and more than 300 delegates participated in this conference, sharing their best practices and action taken on the 22 recommendations of “1st All India Annual State Ministers Conference on Water” held on 5th and 6th January, 2023 at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

The said 22 recommendations include prioritizing drinking water and its source sustainability, building climate resilience, both demand & supply side management, enhancing water storage both at large & small scale, application of state-of-the-art technology, increasing efficiency of water utilisation, intensifying water conservation programs at every level, encouraging interlinking of rivers, monitoring river health & maintaining environmental flow, undertaking appropriate flood management measures and all these interventions with enhanced people’s participation. This conference follows up on these recommendations to accelerate action.

This conference was divided into five thematic sessions in the area of water management. The first day of the conference covered two thematic sessions i.e. Climate Resilience & River Health and Water Governance. Also there was Ministerial Session which was chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Government of India. Hon’ble Minister flagged the dire needs of collaboration and innovation to ensure the sustainable management of water for the well-being of our communities and the environment. He also reaffirmed the commitment to strengthen the Centre-State partnership for achieving goals of water security in the country.

Day 2 Events of the Conference

The second day of the conference covered three thematic sessions on ‘Water use efficiency’, ‘Water Storage & Management’ and ‘People’s Participation /Jan Bhagidari’.

The brief report and important takeaways of the Conference were presented by Ms Archana Verma, AS & MD, National Water Mission. 

In her presentation, she elaborated on the takeaways from the thematic sessions which are as follows:

Climate Resilience & River Health

  • Climate change will lead to extreme events such as floods & droughts frequently;
  • Need for climate resilient infrastructure – Storages, Interlinking of Rivers, sediment management;
  • Non-structural measures such as flood plain zoning, early warning system etc.  are equally important as structural measures;
  • eflow, water quality to be maintained for good river health;
  • Use of state-of-the-art technology for short, medium and long term weather prediction and its impact of water resources.

Water Governance

  • Water Resources Regulatory Authority needs to be constituted by every State;
  • State Water Policy to be formulated on the lines of National Water Policy;
  • Development of River Basin Plan for every river basins of the country;
  • Establishment of State Water Informatics Centre aligned with NWIC;
  • Rationalized water tariff mechanism to be developed by States;
  • Framework for Safe Reuse of Treated Waste Water to be adopted by States.

Water Use Efficiency

  • Efficient utilization of existing projects is equally important as development of new projects ;
  • Efforts to be made for using micro-irrigation and reducing the IPC-IPU gap;
  • State may indicate their interest in water accounting and benchmarking  initiatives;
  • Convergence between minor major irrigation through various initiatives;
  • Modernization along with Piped Irrigation Network to be emphasized;
  • Incentivization to farmers for adopting significant crop pattern change;
  • Govt of India may accelerate work on CADWM Scheme reforms.

Water Storage & Management

  • Enhancement of storage through large and small storage projects;
  • Regular dredging and other O&M  measures to be undertaken efficiently;
  • Catchment area treatment for sediment management;
  • Interventions such as buffer storage tanks, snow harvesting, land reclamation, use of barren lands etc.  to be promoted;
  • Artificial recharge to groundwater to be taken up in large scale;

People’s Participation /Jan Bhagidari

  • Empowering farmers & involving them  in water management through Water User Associations;
  • Mainstream community mobilization efforts to be made through PRIs;
  • Stakeholder involvement at every stage and capacity building is need of the hour;
  • Young minds to be involved in Jan Andolan for fresh idea and youthful energy;
  • Bottom-up planning approach to be adopted.

The suggestions and takeaways from the Conference were also sought from the participants. It was proposed to create an action group of Secretaries on focus areas for taking the agenda of Water Vision@2047 forward through continuous dialogue and deliberations.

In the end, Ms Verma conveyed sincere thanks to all participants and special thanks to the Government of Tamil Nadu for extending all the support in organizing the conference which facilitated bringing all the States/ UTs of the country and the Central Departments & Ministries on a single platform.