Goal 3

Promotion of citizen and state actions for water conservation, augmentation and preservation, and Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas

Promotion of Citizen and State Action for Water Conservation:  

The studies concerning the impact of climate change on water resources indicate that various components of the hydrological cycle would be affected, resulting in further intensification of temporal and spatial vitiations of the water availability. This situation calls for urgent steps towards conservation of the available water resources. It is also necessary to take immediate steps for the augmentation of the utilizable water resources. Water, the most precious gift of nature can be of beneficial use to the mankind only if all the stakeholders are fully involved in its development and management. It has already been established that the participatory approach in water management has yielded excellent results. There are many success stories including Hiware Bazar Panchayat, District Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, Village-Jakhni, Distt. Banda, Uttar Pradesh and Vruksha Prem Seva Trust, Upleta, District Rajkot, Gujarat etc. Mass awareness and capacity building of the stakeholders are also very important strategies for water conservation, augmentation and preservation. 

The “promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation and preservation” is an important goal of the Mission. The strategies identified include (a) Capacity building to empower and involve of Panchayati Raj Institutions, urban local bodies, Water User’s Associations and primary stakeholders in the management of water resources with a focus on water conservation, augmentation and preservation; (b) Promote participatory irrigation management (PIM) with active involvement with CADA (Command Area Development Authority) and State Irrigation Departments; (c) Sensitization of elected representatives and stakeholders of over-exploited areas and water resources vulnerable areas, viz. flood prone zone, wetlands and springs on dimensions of the problems and to orient investment under MNREGA towards water conservation; (d) Promote and provide incentives for water neutral and water positive technologies in industry; (e) Promote and encourage participation of NGOs in various activities related to water resource management, particularly in planning, capacity building and mass awareness; and (f) To promote and encourage involvement of corporate sectors / industries to take up, support and promote water conservation, augmentation and preservation within the industry and as a part of their corporate social responsibility; (g) Promotion of water conservation by rain water harvesting & artificial recharge structures; (h) Encouraging States to establish a “ district rain water harvesting & artificial recharge structure cell” at their district headquarters for technical support and guidance; (i) Promotion of social communication, social media and digital media for water conservation.

Constitution of the Inter-Sectoral Advisory Group for Goal 3 is displayed at Annexure – E. Nodal responsibility for water conservation, augmentation and preservation would be with National Water Mission, Ministry of Water Resources and at the State level, the nodal responsibility would vest with the Development Commissioners or Principal Secretary of Rural Development Department of the State as the basic action would be through MGNREGA. The State level body would be convened by the Secretary, Water Resources of the State Government. 

Nodal responsibility for promoting PIM (Participatory Irrigation Management) in States should be given to their Water Resource Department. An action plan for each State would also be developed and put into implementation. Do-it-yourself methods would be promoted for citizen action with NGO involvement. 

Sensitization of all panchayat members and their functionaries in dark and grey blocks will be completed by 2021-2022.

Focused attention to vulnerable areas:   

There is urgent need for appropriate measures in the vulnerable areas which are likely to be adversely affected due to impact of climate change and the areas where the water resources, particularly the groundwater resources –which are declining due to overuse. In about 15% of the assessment blocks, groundwater has been over-exploited and about 14% of the blocks are in critical or semi-critical state. 

The strategies identified for the goal “focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas” include (a) Promotion of traditional system of water conservation; (b) Promotion of physical sustainability of groundwater resources; (c) Promotion of intensive programme for ground water recharge in over-exploited, critical and semicritical areas; and (g) Promotion of assessment of water purification and desalination. It is observed that the active participation of the stakeholders has yielded very encouraging results in water management. The “Andhra Pradesh Farmer-Managed Ground Water systems” is one among such success stories. Therefore, it is recommended that any strategy to promote water security in areas identified as vulnerable should be implemented in ways that promote multi-disciplinary and cross sectoral partnerships across various users of water resources.

Institutional arrangement at national level for steering the activities as planned under this goal has to source expertise from across the disciplines of urban planning, ecological economics, sustainable entrepreneurship, hydrology, political geography, etc. Hence it is recommended that, apart from concerned members from the ministries, experts should be pooled from academia, industry associations, and civil society groups active in bridging the building inequity in terms of resource production and consumption patterns in India. To sensitize strategies from the gender perspective, the committee should have representative of experts working in the field of feminist political science and other experts from the field of development studies. The nodal authority shall remain with Ministry of Jal Shakti owing to the need for mobilizing interdisciplinary spirit of actions, and capture diversity of challenges as stipulated in this goal, with members drawn from the Ministries of social development, Rural Development, Agriculture, and Corporate Affairs. Notable educational institutions and industry players shall also be roped into the pool of members to ensure that the integrated and multidisciplinary spirit of strategies as identified in this goal is nurtured and sustained throughout the implementation phase. Read more