Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that India does not have a shortage of water, but added that water management in the country was inadequate.
Gadkari made the remarks at the National Water Awards ceremony for 2018 in New Delhi.
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation instituted the National Water Awards to emphasise the importance of water resource management in India.
The prime objective of the awards is to bring the best efforts in water conservation to the national front and encourage all stakeholders to manage their water resources efficiently.
Speaking at the event, Gadkari said that poor water management was the reason why the awards “spanning all sectors” had been instituted – to encourage water conservation in the country.
He announced that 400 million litres per day (MLD) water from the Okhla barrage will be treated and used for Delhi through the Wazirabad barrage. He said a number of projects have been completed under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMSKY), adding that preference has been given to piped irrigation instead of canal irrigation in order to conserve water. Existing canals are also being concretised to avoid wastage of water, he said.
The minister further stated that the “sighting of dolphins, turtles and birds in the Ganga” was indicative of the success of the Clean Ganga Mission. “There should be people’s participation in making the issue of water conservation a public movement. Groundwater recharge and rejuvenation of water bodies are among the greatest challenges,” he said.
Gadkari, along with Minister of State Arjun Ram Meghwal and Water Resources Secretary U P Singh, distributed 82 National Water Awards in 14 categories. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were adjudged the top three states in water conservation. Meanwhile, the award for the best water regulatory authority was bagged by Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority, Pune. —(With PTI inputs)