Once drought-prone,Gujarat now seems to have turned into a water surplus state. If the state government officials are to be believed,then each citizen in the state is getting more than the prescribed per capita quantum of water,thanks to the drinking-water grid that provides water from the Narmada.
We have turned into a water-surplus state. According to the Central government norms,each village should get 50 litre per capita per day (LPCD) of water,while each city should get 140 LPCD. In Gujarat,we are now providing 100 LPCD of water to every village and 150 LPCD to every towns, stated Mahesh Singh,member secretary of Gujarat Water Supply & Sewerage Board (GWSSB),while addressing a national exhibition and conference on drinking water,municipal & industrial waste water treatment & management on Thursday.
Singh later told The Indian Express that even during summer,when Saurashtra and Kutch regions of the state have been facing severe crisis of drinking water,the government machinery had been able to meet the norms by supplying about 88 LPCD to the villages and 140 LPCD to the towns and cities.
We have also reduced the annual usage of water tankers (that take water to areas facing water stress) to 500 from the earlier 5,000, he said.
At the conference,Singh also mentioned that 76 per cent of the houses in Gujarat have tap-water connections,while the national average was only 34 per cent.
According to the official,Gujarat has laid a drinking-water grid based on the Narmada canal. This grid currently connects 8,700 villages and 131 towns in Gujarat through bulk-water pipelines. Our target was 9,200 villages. We will connect the remaining villages to this grid in the next two years, the official added.
Apart from drinking water,Gujarat also supplies 100 MLD (million litres per day) water to industries in the state,Singh told the gathering.
However,water management experts seem to doubt the claim. Gujarat has done some excellent work in providing water to many areas. It has also created some of the model organisations like WASMO (Water and Sanitation Management Organisation) that works towards providing drinking water security. However,I have my doubts about Gujarat being water surplus, Tushaar Shah,an economist and water management expert at the Anand-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said.