Vice-President calls for water pricing for different uses

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 13, 2011

The Vice-President, Mr Hamid Ansari   -  PTI

The Vice-President, Mr Hamid Ansari, has spoken in favour of creating different price points for various categories of water users and penalising those who pollute surface and ground water resources.

Inaugurating the India Water Forum 2011, Mr Ansari said the actions mooted in the National Water Mission such as comprehensive reform on regulation of water resources including that of pricing of water for various uses and penalties for polluters merit close attention.

The three-day India Water Forum, organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Ministry of Water Resources, will discuss and deliberate on the water issues faced by the country.

India has only 4 per cent of available fresh water, though the country hosts 16 per cent of the world's population.

About 85 per cent of the water is used for irrigation, whereas drinking water accounts for 7 per cent and the rest is used by industry including the energy sector.

The per capita water availability has seen a drastic decline of 70 per cent in the past 60 years from 5,177 cubic metres a year in 1951 to 1,544 cubic metres a year in 2011.

Stating that the need to address the complexities of water management in the context of climate change is imperative, Mr Ansari said, “If nations and people ration the use of water for industrial purpose or change the pricing for such use, there would be significant changes in the business environment”.

Water stress and scarcity would have a significant impact on prospects of Indian firms in agriculture and power generation among others, he said.

“Regulators, investors and citizens alike must demand corporate water disclosure, including plans and policies for water consumption, use and disposal and whether environmental concerns have been addressed.”

The Water Resources Minister, Mr Salman Khurshid, said the Centre is formulating a new water policy, which would incorporate the central issue of governance.

The new policy would give the Centre a “larger area” of inter-State management of water resources, he said.

At present, the Centre's role was limited to water conflict management between various States.

Published on April 13, 2011

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