The state government is set to bring four new policies for effective water management and boost irrigation potential in the state. The draft proposal will be placed before the cabinet for formal discussion and consent.
The policies are reuse and recycle of sewage water; sectoral allocation of water; integrated use of micro-irrigation and maintenance of irrigation projects. It emphasises on interlinking projects for optimising use of available water for maximum irrigation.
While reckoning that total ban on new industrial units cannot be an option as it would retard development, it emphasises on making mandatory recycling of treated sewage water thus making it compulsory for all the 27 municipal corporations and 350 councils to install sewage treatment plants. There is also a provision to allow these local bodies to sell treated water to the industrial sector to earn revenue.
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A senior officer said, “The real objective of these policies is to focus on better management and allocation of water. If we make treatment of sewage water successful in industrial sector, it would reduce water crisis by 25 to 30 per cent.”
Simultaneously, it proposes desilting of water tanks and rivers. “On an experimental basis, we will invite free tenders. Those engaged in desilting can take away the soil which has immense fertility and could be used in agriculture. Another aspect is related to segregation of sand from the soil. The sand, which is high quality, can be used for construction purposes,” said the official.
Sources said, “If we build a three TMC dam, it will cost us Rs 500 crore. Through desilting we can free of cost create three TMC water.”
Another aspect of the policy is to have a separate budget for maintenance of irrigation projects. The Rs 850 crore sourced by the revenue ministry from water taxes should be used for irrigation projects, repairs and maintenance, it suggests.
Under sectoral water allocation, the draft proposes determining priority, along with quantity of water to be released from every dam. It calls for guidelines to avoid region-wise conflicts during drought.