Union Minister for Water Resources, Prof. Saifuddin Soz, has said that there is need to adopt water harvesting as a national mission or movement and the public should use water in a judicious manner to save it.
Speaking during an inaugural address at the ongoing "International Conference on Water, Environment, Energy and Society (WEES-2009)" organized by the National Institute of Hydrology, Rurkee on Monday, the minister appealed to treat water problem not as a war but as a movement.
Drawing attention to the ground water table situation and deterioration in water quality, Prof. Soz insisted to plan appropriate strategies on priority. He cautioned: "The per capita availability of water was reducing day-by-day, as a result of population growth."
He called upon the people to adopt the most appropriate measures for development and put an efficient management system in place for optimum utilization of water resources.
The growing population coupled with industrialization and urbanization had resulted in demand for various uses, he stated.
He said that there is an urgent need for reliable assessment of the impact of climate change on water resources and planning appropriate strategies for mitigation at the earliest.
The minister, however, warned that in India we have come across the situation where the over exploitation in certain areas has resulted in lowering of ground water table and deterioration in ground water quality.
" At the same time we have come across the situations resulting from unplanned development or improper planning in some cases. There are instances of over exploitation of available water resources or that of its over use," Prof. Soz added.
Prof. Soz said that the water mission is one of the eight missions under the eight task force of climate change. He informed the audience that the government was making serious efforts to address numerous challenges in water resources sector with due emphasis on sustainability of eco-system for larger interests of the mankind.
"The sustainable development and efficient management of water resources are the keys for economic growth and poverty alleviation. This is more so for India where about 70 per cent of population is dependent on agriculture," said Prof. Soz.
Earlier, Minister of State for Water Resources, Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, said that the water is a priceless gift from nature and if not managed properly, it will be a curse on our society.
About 300 delegates from 18 countries are participating in this five-day conference. And there are 36 technical sessions for exchange of ideas on subjects on efficient management of practices, planning, management of stakeholders etc. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna) etc. have sponsored the Conference.
The purpose of this conference is to bring together educators, researchers, practitioners, planners, managers, administrators, social and economic scientists, policy makers from all over the world to discuss problems pertaining to water and environment in arid, semi-arid, all tropical regions.
Issues related to surface water, ground water, contamination, pollution, eco-systems, water resources planning and management, river linking etc. are being deliberated through over 300 technical papers and poster presentations.
Solutions of the water related problems are also being discussed with consideration of challenges and direction for the 21st Century to reduce the environment related problems.