Monday, March 1, 2010

Basic water usage cap to be fixed, pay more for extra

16 Feb 2010 JAIPUR: Use more, pay more. The government is considering a progressive tariff policy for water. Users will now have to shell out more if they consume more than the basic limit to be soon fixed by the state government. The proposal was cleared by the state cabinet’s sub-committee.
However, the cabinet will have to give its final approval to the new draft water policy. This is likely on Wednesday. Under the new policy, drinking water tops the list of priority, followed by water for irrigation and power generation.
The new policy aims to optimise the water available in the state. The water resources department will prepare a comprehensive inventory of the existing resources before it drafts its distribution plan. Water distribution would henceforth be done in a decentralised manner.
“The policy looks into the prospects of diverting excess water in some areas to where there is a deficit by connecting the basins. This would be done after gauging the environmental impact and gaining confidence of the locals in the area,” said an official, adding that the state government is also contemplating limiting the use of groundwater. A source from the department confirmed that this would mean limiting the use of groundwater for commercial purposes.
Traditional water harvesting structures, along with the new ones, would be promoted. Principal secretary, water resources, Ram Lubhaya, said, “As part of the decentralisation, funds, functions and functionaries would be transferred to the panchayat and local bodies to involve more people in water management.” The draft policy states the state is heading towards absolute water scarcity. The per capita annual water availability in the state is about 780 cubic meter against a minimum requirement of 1000 cubic meter. It is feared that the availability would fall below 450 cubic meter by 2050.

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