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Transparency in projects must for better water management: Expert

The state is facing the prospect of rise in the cost of water supply,said B N Navlawala,the advisor to the Chief Minister on water resources,at the Water Summit in Ahmedabad on Saturday.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
June 6, 2010 1:05:28 am

Industry report unveiled at Water Summit offers solutions to various water issues

The state is facing the prospect of rise in the cost of water supply,said B N Navlawala,the advisor to the Chief Minister on water resources,at the Water Summit in Ahmedabad on Saturday. It was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

According to Navlawala,it will become difficult for the state to strike a balance between energy crises and water management. Also,the demand for water by industry and agriculture is bound to increase in a few years.

“The link between water,economic growth and Human Development Index has been attaining focus of the research amid increasing threats to water security,” he said,adding,“Urbanisation driven by economic growth is thus going to stress the water sector in the state.”

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According to water report prepared by the CII and Tata TSMG and released at the summit,the state,despite being one of the most developed states in India,is water deficient. The average availability of water in the state is 1,137 cubic metres per capita against the national average of 1,820 cubic metres per capita,the report said.

The report emphasises on Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) methods and PPP scheme for various issues related to water conservation.

Navlawala said: “The National Commission of Irrigated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD) has assessed the water demand at 30 litres per day per animal,added to which is the water demand to grow fodder. Total water demand in the dairy industry is estimated to be pver 8 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM). The dairy industry is prominent in water-scarce districts of north Gujarat — Mehsana,Banaskantha,Sabarkantha and Patan.”

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He added: “The crisis-solving efforts are creating an imbalance between the energy sector and water sectors. This increases as more than 90 per cent electricity generation in the state is based on coal,gas and naphtha.”

Navlawala further said: “We need complete transparency in all the projects related to water sector through public hearings. Tariff principles should be laid out in such a way that cross subsidies become the main tool of tariff structure to ensure water availability to all and at the same time.”

The challenges

Rainfall in the state is not only scanty,but also unpredictable

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of the 185 rivers in the state,only eight are perennial,located in 20 per cent area that accounts for 80 per cent surface water of the state

Total water potential of the state is estimated to be 50,100 million cubic metres,which is only two per cent of the country’s total water resources

Average per capita availability of water works out to 890 cubic metres/year in the state. But there is wide variation across the regions ranging from 430 cubic metres/year in northern parts of the state to 1,880 cubic metres per year in the south

Though access to improved water supply facilities has been increasing,it is just sufficient to keep pace with population growth

Ultimate irrigation potential of the state is estimated at 6.4 million hectares,which is about 50 per cent of the total cultivable area of the state

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Over-exploitation of groundwater has resulted in depletion of groundwater table to the tune of 3-5 mts per year in some parts of the state

Inadequate water supply could be due to misdirected emphasis on investing in physical infrastructure without ascertaining its utility

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First published on: 06-06-2010 at 01:05:28 am

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