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Draft National Water Policy 2012

Draft National Water Policy 2012

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Published by mullookkaaran
Draft National Water Policy 2012
Draft National Water Policy 2012

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Published by: mullookkaaran on Apr 02, 2013
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Report Summary
Draft National Water Policy 2012(June 2012)
On June 7, 2012, the Ministry of Water Resourcespublished its Draft National Water Policy 2012(NWP). The Draft Policy seeks to address issues suchas the scarcity of water, inequities in its distributionand the lack of a unified perspective in planning,management and use of water resources. Under theConstitution, states have the authority to framesuitable policies, laws, and regulations on water (Item17 in List II of the Seventh Schedule or the State List). The NWP proposes an overarching national legalframework of general principles on water that can usedby states to draft their own legislation on watergovernance. The draft NWP was was placed beforethe National Water Board and National WaterResources Council in February 2012. It was finalizedand adopted by the National Water Resources Councilon August 9, 2012 and is under deliberation by theNational Water Board.
  The current scenario of water resources and theirmanagement have given rise to several concerns, someof which are:
Increasing variation in availability of water causedby incidences of water related disasters such asfloods and increased erosion.
Poor access to safe drinking water and water forsanitation and hygiene continues to be a problem.
Groundwater, though a community resource,continues to be perceived as individual property.It is exploited inequitably and without anyconsideration for its sustainability.
Grossly inadequate maintenance of existingirrigation infrastructure results in wastage andunder-utilization of available resources. There isa widening gap between irrigation potentialcreated and utilized.
Basic principles of draft NWP
Some of the basic principles that govern the draftNWP are as follows:
 The principle of equity and social justice mustinform the use and and allocation of water.
“Implementation of Water Policy,” Ministry of Water Resources.PIB Release. August 9, 2012.
A common integrated perspective should governthe planning and management of water resources.Such a perspective would consider local, regionaland national contexts and have anenvironmentally sound basis.
Water needs to be managed as a common poolcommunity resource that is held by the state underthe public trust doctrine to ensure equitable andsustainable development for all.
Water may be treated as an economic good topromote its conservation and efficient use afterbasic needs such as those of drinking water andsanitation are met.
 The river basin should be considered as the basichydrological unit for the purpose of this policy.
Water Framework Law
Under the framework proposed by the Draft NWP,water needs to be managed as a community resourceby states under the public trust doctrine to achievefood security, livelihood, and equitable and sustainabledevelopment for all. Existing Acts of various statessuch as the Indian Easements Act, 1882, the IrrigationActs, etc. may have to be amended accordingly if theygive proprietary rights to a land owner on groundwaterunder his land rather than treated as a communityresource. The draft NWP makes recommendations on severalissues such as adapting the availability of water toclimate change, water pricing, and conservation of river corridors, water bodies and infrastructure. Thisnote summarises the key recommendations under eachof these sections.
 Adaptation to climate change
 The draft NWP specifies initiatives that need to beadopted to regulate the availability of water when itvaries due to climate change. The policy highlightsthe need to enhance capabilities of local communitiesso they can adopt climate resilient technologicaloptions to increase the availability of water.Adaptation strategies include, among others:
Increasing water storage in the forms of soilmoisture, ponds, ground water, small and largereservoirs.
Enhancing the efficiency of water use through theadoption of agricultural strategies, croppingpatterns, and improved water application methods,such as land leveling and drip/sprinkler irrigation.
Stakeholder participation in land-soil-watermanagement with scientific inputs from localresearch and academic institutions to evolvedifferent agricultural strategies, reduce soilerosion and improve soil fertility.
Incorporating coping strategies for possibleclimate changes in the planning and managementof water resource structures, such as dams, floodembankments and tidal embankments.
Enhancing water available for use
India’s average annual precipitation is about 4,000Billion Cubic Meter (BCM). Of this, only about 1,123BCM is utilizable. This limited availability of waterwill not meet the rising demand caused by populationgrowth, rapid urbanization, industrialization andeconomic development. The report suggests thefollowing ways to augment the water available forutilization:
Rainfall needs to be used directly and inadvertentevaporation of water needs to be avoided.
Aquifers need to be mapped to know the quantumand quality of ground water resources. Localcommunities should be involved in this process.
Declining ground water levels in over-exploitedareas need to be arrested by introducing improvedtechnologies of water use and encouragingcommunity based management of aquifers.Additionally, artificial recharging projects shouldbe undertaken so that more water is rechargedrather than extracted from aquifers.
Inter-basin transfers of water from surplus basinsto deficit basins/areas need to be encouraged toincrease the production of water.
Integrated watershed development activities withgroundwater perspectives need to be undertakento increase soil moisture, reduce sediment yield,and increase overall land and water productivity.Existing programmes such Mahatma GandhiNational Rural Employment Guarantee Act maybe used by farmers to harvest rain water usingfarm ponds and other soil and water conservationmeasures.
Demand management and water use efficiency
 The draft NWP recommends the following methods topromote and incentivize the efficient use of water:
Systems to benchmark water use, such as waterfootprints (total volume of water used in an areato produce goods and services) and waterauditing (assessment of water use), need to bedeveloped. Continuous water balance and wateraccounting studies need to be conducted toimprove the effeciency of water use fromirrigation projects and river basins.
Project appraisals and environment impactassessment for water uses, particularly forindustrial projects, should include analyses of water footprints.
Water needs to be saved during irrigation.Methods to encourage water saving include,aligning cropping pattern with natural resourceendowments, micro irrigation (drip, sprinkler,etc.), automated irrigation operation, andevaporation-transpiration reduction. Canalseepage water can also be recycled throughconjunctive ground water use.
Small local level irrigation through small bunds,field ponds, agricultural and engineering methodsfor watershed development, need to beencouraged.
Users of water should be involved in monitoringthe pattern of water use if it is causing problemslike unacceptable depletion or building up of ground water, salinity, alkalinity etc.
Water pricing
For the pre-emptive and high priority uses of water,the principle of differential pricing may have to beretained. Other than these uses, water should beallocated and priced according to economic principles.
A Water Regulatory Authority should beestablished in each state. The authority will beresponsible for fixing and regulating the watertariff system and charges to be levied.
Water charges should be determined on avolumetric basis.
Recycle and reuse of water should be incentivizedthrough a properly planned tariff system.
Water Users Associations (WUA) should be givenstatutory powers to collect and retain a portion of water charges, manage the volumetric quantum of water allotted to them and maintain thedistribution system in their jurisdiction.
Conservation of river corridors,water bodies and infrastructure
Conservation of river corridors, water bodies andinfrastructure needs to be undertaken in aregulated and scientifically planned mannerthrough community participation.
Encroachments and diversion of water bodies anddrainage channels must not be allowed. Whereversuch diversions have taken place, they should berestored and maintained to the extent feasible.
Pollution of sources of water and water bodiesshould not be allowed. Water bodies should beperiodically inspected by a third party andstringent punitive action should be taken againstpersons responsible for pollution.
Legally empowered dam safety services need tobe ensured in the centre as well as states.Appropriate safety measures such as downstreamflood management for each dam should be giventop priority.
Project planning andimplementation
Considering the existing water stress conditions, waterresource projects should be planned as per thefollowing efficiency benchmarks:
All clearances, including environmental andinvestment clearances, required forimplementation of projects should be made timebound to avoid the economic losses incurred dueto delays in implementation.
 To avoid time and cost over-runs, concurrentmonitoring at project, state and central levelsshould be undertaken for timely interventions.
Water resource projects should be executedclosely after they are planned so that intendedbenefits start accruing immediately and there is nogap between potential created and utilized.
Local governing bodies such as panchayats,municipalities, corporations, and WUAs should beinvolved in the planning of projects.
Management of flood and drought
While efforts should be made to avert water relateddisasters like floods and droughts, a greater emphasisshould be on preparedness for floods and droughts.Emphasis should also be placed on rehabilitation of the natural drainage system.
Land, soil, energy and water management withscientifc inputs from local, research and scientificinstitutions should be used to evolve differentagricultural strategies and improve soil and waterproductivity.
Revetments (walls), spurs, embankments, etc.should be constructed on the basis of morphological studies to prevent soil erosion.
Flood forecasting needs to be expanded to the restof the country and modernized using real timedata acquisition system.
Operating procedures for reservoirs should beevolved and implemented so as to have a floodcushion and reduce trapping of sediment duringflood season.
Frequency based flood inundation maps should beprepared to evolve coping strategies.Communities should be involved in preparing anaction plan for dealing with floods/droughts.
Water supply and sanitation
Efforts should be made to provide improved watersupply in rural areas with proper seweragefacilities. Least water intensive sanitation andsewerage systems with decentralized sewagetreatment plants should be incentivized.
In urban and industrial areas, rainwater harvestingand de-salinization should be encouraged toincrease availability of utilizable water.
Urban water supply and sewage treatmentschemes should be integrated and executedsimultaneously. Water supply bills should includesewerage charges.
Subsidies and incentives should be implementedto encourage the recovery of industrial pollutantsand recycling, which are otherwise capitalintensive.
Institutional arrangements
Forums need to be established at the central and statelevels to deliberate upon issues relating to water andresolving differences in demands for water betweenusers.
A permanent Water Disputes Tribunal should beestablished at the centre to resolve disputesexpeditiously.
Communities should participate in themanagement of water resource projects andservices. State governments or local authoritiescan encourage the private sector to become aservice provider through public privatepartnerships.
Integrated Water Resources Management shouldbe the main principle for planning, developmentand management of water resources.
Trans-boundary rivers
Efforts should be made to enter into internationalagreements with neighbouring countries on abilateral basis for exchange of hydrological dataof international rivers on real time basis.
Riparian (along the banks of rivers) states shouldbe consulted during negotiations about sharingand management of water of international riverskeeping national interests in mind.
Database and information system
A National Water Informatics Centre should beestablished to process hydrological data regularly

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