Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat has said that India’s Water management needs to be dealt with utmost attention and seriousness. Inaugurating the first meeting of the Indo-European Water Forum in New Delhi, he said India’s water management is becoming increasingly difficult task day by day due to increasing and competing demand from various sectors. The Minister said India has made significant strides in development of water resources since independence. He said “However, the approach was mostly project centric and sources based without much emphasis on the ecological and pollution aspects.
This has resulted into water over-use, water pollution and unhealthy competition amongst multiple sectors. Therefore, proper allocation management of the demand and efficient measures for use are urgently needed”.Referring to the European Water Policy, Prof. Jat said it presents a viable mode for cooperation between the EU and India. He said this framework could be used by India with suitable modifications as source of inspiration to integrate water resources development and management amongst the States. The Minister said the experiences and the lessons learnt by the EU Members States can also help India in improving the water quality of Ganga and the other major Indian rivers. He said another important area of cooperation between India and EU could be water scarcity and ecological aspects of water management. The sharing of learnings and experiences from the European Member States would help us to successfully address these issues, the Minister added.
In her message to the meeting, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharti said increasing competition for water among industry, agriculture, energy, domestic use and the environment has highlighted the importance of managing water on a river basis and multi–sectoral basis in a sustainable manner. She expressed the hope that the desk study of assessing India’s Draft National Water Framework Bill and the EU’s Water Framework Directive by the EU water experts will provide very useful inputs for our policy making.The two day meeting of the Indo-European Water Forum has been jointly organized by National Water Mission, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission to discuss key issues in water resources management in India as well as the experiences of implementation of European Water Policy. The forum is being attended by Director General of Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission Mr Daniel Calleja Crespo. The Meeting is also being attended by Diplomats, Senior officers from the Central Ministries, State Govt’s and UT’s, World bank, UNDP, ADB, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, FICCI, CII , researchers, practitioners and academicians amongst others.
India’s water challenges are complex and include quantity, allocation, quality and management issues. Increasing competition for water among industry, agriculture, energy, domestic use and the environment has highlighted the importance of managing water on a river basin, and multi- sectoral basis in a sustainable manner. The agricultural sector is currently India’s largest user of water, however, as urban and other demands multiply, less water is likely to be available in order to meet the nation's irrigation and individual needs. Therefore proper allocation – management of the demand and efficient measures are urgently needed. In the context of these complex water challenges, the European Water Policy, centered on management at the river basin scale and integrated water management, presents a viable model for cooperation between the EU and India at the national and state level.
The European Water Policy supports the Member States of the European Union in setting up appropriate governance structures which allow for an understanding of impacts and pressures to water resources including pollutant emissions, water over-use, morphological impacts, climate change effects; land use and effects from economic activities such as energy production, industry, agriculture and tourism; urban development and demographic changes. This framework which determines the implementation of water policies and legislation at national level could, therefore, be used by India as a source of inspiration to integrate water resource development and management across its states.
The Indo-European Water Forum will provide the platform for policy makers and stakeholders to discuss key issues surrounding water resources management in India, as well as transferring the lessons from the experience and implementation of European Water Policy. The main themes to be covered during the discussion will include Water Governance and Legislation, River Basin Management, Water Policy in India and European Union, Coping with water scarcity and the Ecological Aspects of water management and Research, Innovation and Business Solutions for Water Challenges to chalk out the way forward for Sustainable Water Management in India.