INVOLVE PRIVATE SECTOR TO IMPROVE WATER AVAILABILITY AND ITS HARNESSING IN RAJASTHAN

INVOLVE PRIVATE SECTOR TO IMPROVE WATER AVAILABILITY AND ITS HARNESSING IN RAJASTHAN

INVOLVE PRIVATE SECTOR TO IMPROVE WATER AVAILABILITY AND ITS HARNESSING IN RAJASTHAN

No.PR-22
May 1, 2014
Jaipur

INVOLVE PRIVATE SECTOR TO IMPROVE WATER AVAILABILITY AND ITS HARNESSING IN RAJASTHAN

The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Rajasthan Government to take pro-active measures for rain water harvesting in it as also engage an intense private sector participation for improving the state’s water efficiency and minimizing its waste since Rajasthan faces a grim scenario in relation to water availability resources.  

The private sector’s participation in managing water availability and its supplies in the state has become extremely critical because out of estimated 237 water blocks in Rajasthan, 49 are safe in terms of ground water while 101 are critical and semi critical and remaining 87 are over exploited, says a PHD Chamber report on Water Sustainability with Rain Water Harvesting in Rajasthan.

The report circulated at a Conference on Water Sustainability with Rain Water Harvesting organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today, further states that the hard reality of the Rajasthan is that its dependence on ground water has grown 91% for drinking water and 60% for irrigation.

Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Chairman, Rajasthan Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry while commending on the report said “there has been continuous drought and low rainfall for the last couple of years, which has resulted in over- exploitation of 91% of water supply sources namely ground water, reducing water table, and yield of water or no water in tube well or hand pump and increase in concentration of dissolved salts making it unsuitable for drinking”.

The report further claims that  privatization of water could mitigate water crisis in the state to certain extent as the privatized water supply would prevent waste, improve efficiency and encourage innovation.  Just as Andhra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat and Chhattisgarh have made efforts in this direction by involving the private sector to improve their water situation, the state of Rajasthan should emulate these states to suitably harness an improve the water levels of the states, added Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Executive Director, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Hemant Kumar Joshi, Director, Water and Sanitation Support Organisation (WSSO) who is also associated with the conference said that a paradigm shift was necessary to evolve for demand management of water particularly for urban areas in Rajasthan adding that managing water resources would require a holistic approach from various sources. 

The report further highlights that groundwater is very vital for the existence of human society. This is the major source of drinking water in both urban and rural India. Besides, it is an important source of water for the agricultural and the industrial sector. Being an important and integral part of the hydrological cycle, its availability depends on the rainfall and recharge conditions. Till recently it had been considered a dependable source of uncontaminated water.

The demand for water has increased over the years and this has led to water scarcity in many parts of the world. The situation is aggravated by the problem of water pollution or contamination. India is heading towards a freshwater crisis mainly due to improper management of water resources and environmental degradation, which has lead to a lack of access to safe water supply to millions of people. This freshwater crisis is already evident in many parts of India, varying in scale and intensity depending mainly on the time of the year.

Unreasonable and illogical human actions have given rise to groundwater crisis in India.  During the past two decades, the water level in several parts of the country has been falling rapidly due to an increase in extraction. The number of wells drilled for irrigation of both food and cash crops have rapidly and indiscriminately increased. India's rapidly rising population and changing lifestyles has also increased the domestic need for water. The water requirement for the industry also shows an overall increase.

Intense competition among users - agriculture, industry, and domestic sectors - is driving the groundwater table lower. The quality of groundwater is getting severely affected because of the widespread pollution of surface water. Besides, discharge of untreated waste water through bores and leachate from unscientific disposal of solid wastes also contaminates groundwater, thereby reducing the quality of fresh water resources.
ENDS
Koteshwar Prasad Dobhal
Consultant (PR)