Requirement for Alternative Water Policy in India

Water is the most essential factor for human existence and development. Recently a number of techniques have been adopted for the sustainable and equitable usage of water. This could be achieved through the adaptation of a number of water conservation techniques and cultivation techniques. However a large number factors (such as urbanization, increase in population, industrialization etc.) have interfered in the course of nature and have led to hazardous changes in the water cycle, rainfall, moisture content of the soil and surface and underground aquifers. This has resulted in pollution, overuse and depletion of the available vital water resources. In addition to this it has also led to the deterioration of the natural cleansing ability of water.

Thus water is one of the most significant components of our national level planning for development in the 21st century. Water management is extremely essential, not only on account of restricted water resources, but also for better crop cultivation, for the realization of food security for the increasing population. This would also help in the realization of eradication of poverty. Besides this it is also required for the eradication of social conflicts that arise due to water scarcity.

In order to reduce the harmful effects of depletion of water resources due to overuse and to guarantee the optimal usage of water resources to eradicate poverty as well as realize the planned economic development, an effective water policy is extremely essential. The national water policy thus formulated for the twenty-first century, should acknowledge water as a prime national resource for ensuing national planning and development. Water management needs to be decentralized and state governments as well as local communities must be involved in the execution of the programme. The water management policies formulated should have a descriptive framework and be flexible enough to suit various situations. Such as agro-climatic zone, location, density of population etc. In addition to this water policies for specific regions also need to be developed, separately due to differences in rainfall, surface and underground water content.

In September 1987, the first National Water Policy was adopted. Later on, in April 2002, it was revised by the National Resources Council. Recently the expansion and management of water resources have been facing a number of challenges, such as depletion and pollution of water resources. However on the other hand a large number of local initiatives for water conservation have also gathered momentum; thereby facing the growing challenges regarding water resources. The need of the hour is to strengthen these initiatives. For doing so it is necessary to provide community water rights, strengthen the processes of water conservation and management as well as declaration of water resource as a common property resource.

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