Experts advocate sustainable approach to mitigate water crisis

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New Delhi: As climate change intensifies water scarcity, government authorities and water experts have called for sustainable approaches in water management and emphasised that technology could play a pivotal role in mitigating the crisis.

Taking part in the second edition of the Jal Jeevan conclave, organised by the Integrated Health and Wellbeing Council on Wednesday, the experts also lauded the government-run “Jal Jeevan Mission” and termed it a game-changing initiative to provide safe and adequate drinking water to every rural household by the year 2024.

“There are a number of water-surplus states in India, like Assam and Uttarakhand. But, if we consider the bigger picture, there is a bigger threat. Therefore, resorting to a sustainable water management model is extremely crucial to tackle the acute water crisis, be it drinking water, agricultural water, or water needed for industrial works, “said Akash Deep, Director, Jal Jeevan Mission, Government of Assam.

Exuding confidence in the government’s target to ensure safe and adequate drinking water by 2024, Avinash Misra, Advisor to NITI Aayog, said, “One of the key goals of sustainable development is to ensure every citizen of a country has access to safe and adequate drinking water.”

He added that the government of India has been immensely successful in achieving that goal through its Jal Jeevan Mission. “I am extremely confident that rural households of this country will have access to tap water connections by 2024, as per the government’s target.”

The second edition of the Jal Jeevan Conclave also focused on some of the critical areas related to water issues and management, such as the impact of clean water on fighting water-borne diseases and the need for innovative solutions and technology for public water supply infrastructure. 

Calling the “Mission” a huge success in terms of fulfilling the commitment to provide safe and adequate water supply to millions of rural households, Rajiv Yadav, Chairman, Brahmaputra Board, Government of India, said, “The Jal Jeevan Mission has truly been a game-changing initiative.

In fact, it is extremely challenging to initiate such initiatives in a country that has a massive population of nearly 1.4 billion people. But, the government has been immensely successful, but we have a long way to go, “he said.

Expressing confidence that the mission is “well on its course” to achieve universal access to water for every household, Kamal Narayan Omer, CEO, IHW Council, said “ensuring safe, clean water for every household is more of a responsibility, especially at a time when Indians are standing at a real inflection point of a water crisis of an unprecedented scale.”

From just one in five rural households in 2019 to over 19 crore rural households now having access to safe and adequate drinking water across the country, the Government of India, through its ambitious and game-changing Jal Jeevan Mission initiative, is well on its course to achieve universal access to water and sanitation.

He said although we have a long way to go, the government, through its eagerness and determination, has proved once again that providing safe and adequate drinking water to every household by 2024 is not at all a mountain of a task, “he said.

Speaking about the challenges being faced by India, Dr Lior Asaf, Water Attaché at the Israel Embassy in New Delhi, said, “54 percent of India faces a high to extremely high water crisis and there are many factors at play: climate change, improving living water standards, changing consumption patterns etc.

“In India, also being home to nearly 1.4 billion people, the water crisis is a huge issue. So, there is a growing need to consider sustainable approaches to water conservation to address both immediate and future needs. He added that India needs to have in place a robust, self-sufficient water system model like Israel.

Throwing light on the same, Arkul Sudesh Shenoy, Segment Head, Water and Wastewater, said,” It has been estimated by the WWF that by 2030, 30 Indian cities will be at risk of a severe water crisis and, according to the World Bank, India will lose 6% of its GDP due to poor water management. Therefore, to mitigate this impending crisis, modern technology and related ecosystems are poised to play a huge role.

The conclave also focused on the “Urban & Rural Challenges of Safe Drinking Water Supply”. With many Indian cities and rural centres bearing the brunt of an acute water crisis, especially during the peak summer season, experts have said that it is technology that can play a pivotal role in mitigating the crisis.

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