New Delhi: Vice-President, M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday called for a ‘Jan Andolan’ on water conservation and warned that potable water might become a scarce resource unless water conservation was taken on a war-footing.
Delivering virtually the inaugural address at the 2nd National Water Awards ceremony, the Vice-President referred to how Swachh Bharat Abhiyan became a mass movement and said the key message to be taken to people was that water is a finite resource.
He underlined the importance of people’s participation to make the Andolan a success, saying India is a vast country and nothing would succeed without people’s participation, he added.
“The Jal Shakti Abhiyan aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication”, he noted.
Pointing out that only three per cent of the water available on Earth constituted freshwater and that only 0.5 per cent of that was available for drinking, he said, “It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to save water and use it judiciously. The need of the hour is to change our lifestyles and make water conservation a way of life.”
Describing water as a scarce natural resource, he said the message for its conservation must be taken far and wide and to every corner of the country. Stating that every drop of water has to be saved, he said “that is possible if everybody understands the challenge before mankind”.
Underlining the need for a sustained mass media campaign to raise awareness about the importance of conserving water, he said schools, colleges, universities, communities, NGOs and local bodies must become active partners in this drive.
Calling for promotion of watershed development, drip and sprinkler systems for efficient use of water, he said, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be the watchwords if we have to handover a sustainable and liveable planet to the future generations”.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, Minister of State for Ministry of Jal Shakti, U P Singh, Secretary, Ministry for Jal Shakti, Dr Anil Joshi, environmentalist, Rajeev Ranjan Mishra, DG, National Mission for Clean Ganga, representatives of award-winning states, organisations and awardees were present, an official release said.
India’s current water requirement, he said, “is estimated to be around 1100 billion cubic metres a year and that it is projected to touch 1447 BCM by 2050”, he said that with rising population, urbanisation, industrialisation and expanding agricultural activities, the water requirement would continue to increase.
He complimented the winners –Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan — for bagging the first, second and third prize respectively.
While lauding the good work done by the district administrations and panchayats, Naidu suggested to the municipal authorities and other local bodies to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for every new building.