Manmohan Singh calls for judicious management of India's limited water resources

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Friday called for the judicious management of the country's limited water resources.

Addressing the sixth meeting of the National Water Resources Council here, Dr. Singh said the lack of water could become a limiting factor to social and economic growth in the future.

"This situation calls for judicious management of our limited water resources and a paradigm shift in our approach to this vital issue. Planning for water use and distribution has to be done on the foundation of a national vision. Regions with sufficient water resources are already experiencing the strains that result from having water-deficient regions around them."

"We, therefore, need to rise above political, ideological and regional differences and also move away from a narrow project-centric approach to a broader holistic approach to issues of water management," he added.

Asserting that climate change could further aggravate distortions in water availability in the country, Dr. Singh said: "Most objective data available today point unerringly to the conclusion that water, or the lack of it, could well become the limiting factor to our social and economic growth in the future. With around 18 percent of the world's population, but only four percent of its usable fresh water, India already faces a scarcity of water, which is a vital and stressed natural resource.

"Receding glaciers would negatively impact flows in our major rivers and pose a major new threat to the welfare of millions of our people," he added.

Stating that planning for judicious use of water and distribution be done with a national perspective, Dr. Singh stressed the need for rising above political, ideological and regional differences for a holistic approach of water management.

" I would like to emphasize the need to see the proposed national legal framework in proper perspective. The framework would be an umbrella statement of general principles governing the exercise of legislative, executive or devolved powers by the Centre, the states and the local governing bodies. The central government, I repeat, does not wish to encroach, in any manner, upon the constitutionally guaranteed rights of states or to centralize water management," he added.

Referring to suggestions for a national legal framework of general principles on water, Dr. Singh said it would pave the way for essential legislation on water governance in every state.

"One of the problems in achieving better management is that the current institutional and legal structures dealing with water in our country are inadequate, fragmented and need active reform. It is in this context that a suggestion has been made for a national legal framework of general principles on water, which, in turn, would pave the way for essential legislation on water governance in every state," he added. (ANI)