Bansal calls for transparent water pricing by regulators

July 11th, 2012 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has called for moving towards “transparent and participatory mechanisms” of pricing of water by independent water regulatory authorities.

He also said that there was need for a comprehensive legislation for optimum development of inter-state rivers.

Addressing a meeting of the ministry’s consultative committee here Wednesday, Bansal said development and management of water resources had to keep pace with current realities.

According to an official statement, Bansal said there had been a suggestion that an overarching national legal framework of general principles on water was necessary to pave way for essential legislation on water governance in every state.

“There is a need to move towards transparent and participatory mechanisms of pricing of water by independent water regulatory authorities,” he said.

The minister said draft National Water Policy recommended that the management of irrigation systems should move away from a narrow engineering construction centric approach to a more multidisciplinary and participatory approach.

He said water security of the future would depend on efficient management of water.

The goal of National Water Mission was to increase water usage efficiency by 20 percent, he added.

Expressing concern over the decline in the ground water table in the country, Bansal said the present legal situation gave every land holder the right to pump unlimited quantities of water from a borewell.

He said there was no regulation of groundwater extraction and no coordination among competing uses.

The minister said “inadequate and sub-optimal pricing of power and water was promoting the misuse of groundwater” and suggested moving to a situation where groundwater could be treated as a common property resource held by the state under public trust doctrine.

He said there was a need to map aquifers to quantify the water availability and allow a community to manage its aquifer for ensuring water security.

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