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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Exploring Water Conservation Initiatives: A Comprehensive Guide

Water conservation is the technique of utilizing water effectively in order to decrease waste. Fresh clean water is a finite and expensive resource, and population growth, family size, and wealth all influence how much water is consumed.

Water conservation encompasses all policies, strategies, and actions aimed at managing the natural resource of fresh water in a sustainable manner, protecting the hydrosphere, and meeting present and future human demand.

Any useful decrease in water loss, usage, and waste of resources, preventing any damage to water quality, and developing water management methods that minimize or increase the beneficial use of water are the essential tasks to preserve water.

There are several methods for conserving water at home and in the yard, such as using low-flow aerators, showerheads, and tank banks, fixing leaks, and watering plants efficiently. 

Water is a State subject and the Central Government supplements the efforts of the States through technical and financial support. Water conservation is one of the foremost priorities of the Government of India. Major Steps taken by the Government for conservation of water in the country are as follows:

  1. Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater- 2020 has been prepared by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in consultation with States/UTs which is a macro level plan indicating various structures for the different terrain conditions of the country including estimated cost. The Master Plan envisages construction of about 1.42 crore rain water harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the country to harness 185 Billion Cubic Metre (BCM) of monsoon rainfall. The Master Plan has been circulated to all the States/UTs for implementation.
  2. The Ministry of Jal Shakti has been implementing Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) since 2019 on an annual basis. JSA could not be implemented in 2020 due to Covid pandemic. In the current year, Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain 2023, 4th in the series of JSA has been launched by the Hon’ble President of India on 04.03.2023 for implementation in all the districts (rural as well as urban) of the country from 04.03.2023 to 30.11.2023.
  3. Government has been implementing Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) since 2015-16 with an aim to enhance physical access of water on farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on farm water use efficiency, introduce sustainable water conservation practices etc.
  4. Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) has been launched in 2019 with the objective to improve the management of ground water resources including rainwater harvesting in water stressed areas through community participation in identified priority areas in 7 states viz. Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
  5. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) includes water conservation and water harvesting structures as one of the activities under its natural resource management (NRM) component.
  6. Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has formulated guidelines for the States to adopt measures suitable to local conditions, such as Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL) of Delhi, 2016, Model Building Bye Laws (MBBL), 2016 and Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines, 2014 with adequate focus on requirement of rainwater harvesting and water conservation measures.
  7. 15th Finance Commission grants have been released to States to be utilized through Rural Local Bodies. Financial assistance given to various States under 15th Finance Commission tied grants can be inter alia utilized for rainwater harvesting.

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