New Delhi, Mar 20 : For effective use of finite water resources, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Friday said that emphasis should also be laid on demand aspect and not just the supply of natural resources. 'We have to work on the demand aspect also. The state governments should think on reducing unnecessary usage of water and how it is used in equitable, efficient and sustainable manner,' Mr Shekhawat said. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'per drop, more crop', the National water policy should be reviewed and steps should be taken in a holistic manner, he said, in response to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on a private resolution about the water problem in Budhelkhand region and the Ken-Betwa River Link project.
The Minister further said that strategies should be aimed at influencing water demand, in order to achieve water consumption levels that are consistent with equitable, efficient and sustainable use of the finite water resource. Agriculture is facing existential crisis due to lack of effective natural water storage in the country, he said.
Mr Shekhawat said the country receives 4,000 billion cubic metres of rain every year on an average, of which only half is collected, adding that due to geological and other factors, the utilisable water availability is limited to 300 BCM only. In the last 70 years, the amount of water from nature is almost the same, while the per capita water availability has reduced from 5,000 BCM to 1,540 BCM. There is scanty and erratic rainfall, he said, adding that water is not used judiciously.
"Farmers are being affected the most by this. Crisis is created for fodder of the cattle and livestock,' he said. The farmer leaves the animals out in the open for food, causing further wastage of crops, he added. Due to this vicious cycle, there is an existential crisis in front of the villages and agriculture. People are migrating from the villages towards the cities, thus increasing pressure on the cities, said the Minister. The private resolution was moved by BJP's Pushpendra Singh Chandel and the discussion continued in three sessions of Parliament.
The Minister said the final agreement between the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh about the Ken-Betwa river link project is almost done. There is some disagreement between the two states regarding the sharing of water during monsoon and other days, he maintained. The detailed project report has also been prepared, Mr Shekhawat informed. (UNI)