In order to protect water, citizens have to save each and every drop, says urban development secretary Shankar Aggarwal
Puja Bhattacharjee | December 16, 2014
Shankar Aggarwal, secretary, ministry of urban development, admitted that our country has not been managing water resources properly, but the government-planned smart cities will effectively deal with the challenge of water shortage by plugging leakages. “The cities are being planned in such a manner that every drop of water will be treated. Information and communication technology (ICT) will play a key role in saving water by plugging leakages,” he said.
He was speaking at the 5th India International Water Summit held on December 16 in New Delhi. Organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, the event was supported by the ministry of drinking water and partnered by the Danish Water Forum. The topic this year was ‘Vision 2020: Towards sustainable water management’.
Citing the example of the Indus Valley civilisation, which was “the first civilisation to build planned cities, and conserved each and every drop of water’’, he said that India must strive towards better planning and conservation. At present, 65 percent of the GDP comes from urban areas and 32 percent of the population resides in urban areas. To deal with the challenges of rapid urbanisation, the government plans to develop 100 smart cities and do urban renewal of 500 cities.
He said that users will be more than happy to pay a usage charge for water. “But if even after paying the fee, they do not get round the clock water supply, they would feel cheated,” he said.
In New Moti Bagh, a government built residential colony for senior bureaucrats in New Delhi, every drop of water is treated, he said. He added that the union ministry is coming up with revised national water policy for the improvement of water use efficiency, urban and rural water supply and sanitation. This revised policy will give a new opportunity to private players for implementation of new technologies in water supply and sanitation.
He also spoke about the Clean India campaign. “Unless we create a neat and clean environment, we will not be able to increase productivity or tap the potential of the young.” Talking about the support given by the prime minister, he said the prime minister had directly instructed government officials not to get into petty things and instead think big and be open to new ideas.
Also speaking on the occasion Freddy Svane, Danish ambassador to India, acknowledged the challenges people in villages have to deal with as the rivers are mostly polluted. “I have met with people from the rural areas with highly innovative solutions for cleaning and conserving the sources of water. India has to tap into that potential,” he said.
He added that instead of putting the entire onus on the government, each individual should take responsibility for conserving water.
The 5th edition of the India International Water Summit aimed to provide a unique and ideal forum to bring in policy-level interaction/representation along with B2B opportunities. The discussions and deliberations at the summit focussed not only on policy and regulatory environment prevailing in the country but also on new projects on sustainable management of water, advanced technologies, business development, success stories and idea of replication as well.
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