Noting that India supports 17 per cent of the global population, but only had four per cent of the world’s water resources, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said, “I would go to the extent of saying that the modernisation of India is dependent on the modernisation of its water management.” In India, he said, water was central to some of the government’s flagship programmes.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the fifth India Water week, 2017, he said that water was fundamental to “economy, ecology and human equity” and that the issue was becoming more critical in view of climate change and related environmental concerns. “I would urge a water management approach that is localised. It should empower village and neighbourhood communities and build their capacity to manage, allocate and value their water resources,” he said.
He added that any 21st-century water policy must factor in the “concept of value of water” and encourage all stakeholders, including communities, to expand their mind and to “graduate from allocating a quantum of water to allocating a quantum of benefits.”
Presently, 80 per cent of water in India is used by agriculture and only 15 per cent by industry, he said, adding that “this ratio will change” in the years to come. “The total demand for water will also rise. The efficiency of water use and reuse, therefore, has to be built into the blueprint of industrial projects. Business and industry need to be a part of the solution.”