The Soil and Water Conservation Department Punjab on Wednesday bagged prestigious National Water Mission Award for efficient utilization of treated waste water for irrigation purposes from Sewerage Treatment Plant, Phagwara in Kapurthala district.The award ceremony was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi during ongoing 6th India Water Week-2019, which was inaugurated by the President Ram Nath Kovind on September 24.The Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat and Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria accompanied by Union Secretary Water Resources U.P. Singh presented the award, which was received by Chief Conservator of Soils Dharminder Sharma on behalf of the State Government. Of the total 23 awards announced by the National Water Mission across the country, the State’s Soil and Water Conservation Department has clinched this prestigious award under the category “Promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation and preservation”.Briefing about the project after receiving the award, the Chief Conservator of Soils Dharminder Sharma informed that the project was completed during 2017 and approx 12 kms of underground pipeline network had been laid for conveyance of treated water from Phagwara STP, which has a discharge of 28 MLD and area of 1050 acres comprising 260 farmer households is being irrigated with treated water. Due to unavailability of any surface water source, the area was entirely dependent on ground water for meeting irrigation water needs due to which ground water table has deteriorated considerably, said he adding that the project had vastly reduced dependence on ground water besides the fact that treated water from STP was made available throughout the year irrespective of climatic variability. The Chief Conservator of Soils also pointed out that that Punjab was the pioneering state for such projects, which had huge potential of utilizing 1700 MLD of waste water as an alternate irrigation source to benefit around 60,000 hectares after treating the same in various STPs of cities & towns. In this direction, an irrigation infrastructure has already been installed at 40 locations for use of 280 MLD of treated water of STPs to irrigate 8500 hectares. The State Government has recently approved a new project for creation of similar irrigation infrastructure around 25 towns.Pertinently, the Water Mission (NWM) is one of the 8 missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The main objective of NWM is “Conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within states through integrated water resources development and management”.