Ministry of Jal Shakti Stresses on Rejuvenation of Water Bodies

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New Delhi/Noida, July 31, 2020:  Water is a basic need, and in a COVID-19 situation, it assumes a critical role in ensuring recommended hygiene protocols related to hand wash and clean drinking water. This has created an additional demand for water and put pressure on the already scarce availability. The need for efficient water management can be dovetailed as a critical agenda for post-COVID-19 reform. Water management and optimum usage are core elements, which can be achieved through building partnerships for technologies, strategies, scaling-up demonstrations, enhancing awareness with enabling policies and institutional mechanisms.

In the given backdrop, to build a coalition of corporates and companies with the Government of India for sustainable management of water during the COVID-19 and to discuss learnings of corporates with other stakeholders, National CSR Network (NCN) organised a webinar on ‘Water Management and Optimum Usage’ on July 31, 2020.

Speaking at an e-interactive session, U.P. Singh, Honorable Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti (D/o WR, RD and GR) emphasized on the convergence of water management in the country under “Ministry of Jal Shakti”.  He talked about the rejuvenation of water bodies, water-efficient irrigation, rainwater harvesting/conservation as critical components in water resource management. He highlighted the success of Government of India’s initiatives like Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), Atal Bhujal Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), Swachch Bharat Mission, which has helped the transformation of rural economy and management of village water sources in an efficient way.

In his address as Chief Guest, Mr Singh said “There is an acute need for a collaborative approach through a public-private partnership amongst the Government, Industry and Civil society in the optimum water usage and sustainability plan. He urged National CSR Network to work with GOI by bringing together corporates expertise and technical support for accomplishment of larger water management mission.”

Highlighting the need for a holistic and integrated approach towards water usage, Ashwini Saxena, CEO, JSW Foundation said, “Investment in the right kind of data-based approach is important and strategy of ‘Lead, Collaborate & Innovate’ can play a successful role in achieving water sustainability in India.”

Talking about the ways to achieve better water management and optimum usage under PPP framework, Sourav Daspatnaik, MD, Swach Environment Ltd, Srei Infrastructure said, “India must develop standards for efficient water re-use for agriculture, industrial and commercial usage. The private sector should be encouraged to develop and deploy new technologies and emphasis should be made to adopt superior infrastructure.”

Sharing major learnings of their CSR water management project in Jharsuguda, Sunder Raj, Head- CSR, Vedanta Ltd. (Jharsuguda) said, “Increase in irrigation potential could transform the agricultural income of farmers. A collaborative approach with the government schemes helped to enhance the irrigation potential of the area. Also, small cost-effective technology inclusion has created a high impact on livelihood and sustainability.”

NCN organised the online interactive meeting moderated by Dr Suhas P Wani, Ex-Director – ICRISAT & International Consultant, Asian Development Bank Manila where Ashwini Saxena, CEO, JSW Foundation, Mumbai; Sourav Daspatnaik, MD, Swach Environment Ltd, Srei Infrastructure and Sunder Raj, Head – CSR, Vedanta Ltd. (Jharsuguda) expressed their views on the subject and shared their suggestions and learnings in water resource management.

The e-interactive session had overwhelming online participation with around 100 participants from across corporates, start-up groups and NGO’s from all parts of India.