“There are six basins in Maharashtra, namely Godavari, Krishna, Tapi, Narmada , Mahanadi and Konkan. While some basins face high water stress, others face low water stress. For instance, Godavari basin faces water stress, especially in the central and eastern parts of the basin. In order to address this imbalance in water stress across basins, Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) is preparing Integrated State Water Plan. We have recently submitted the Integrated State Water Plan for Godavari Basin to the Government of Maharashtra and we plan to submit similar plans for the other five basins by December 2017. Maharashtra is the first state to have such an integrated water plan,” said Mr. K. P. Bakshi, I.A.S. (Retd.), Chairman, MWRRA while addressing an Interactive Meeting on ‘Addressing Water Issues at all levels (Households, Agriculture, Industry and Government) on August 29, 2017 at World Trade Centre Mumbai. The event was jointly organized by All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and World Trade Centre Mumbai.
Mr. Bakshi said this interactive meeting is very timely looking at today’s water logging/flooding and he mooted the idea of setting up an incubation center in Maharashtra for supporting start-up companies and other business organizations involved in developing water technologies. He said MWRRA will be in a position to establish an incubation center if Government of India assures funding support for the same.
Mr. Bakshi also said that MWRRA was willing to help other state governments adopt policy, institutional and administrative reforms in the water sector. Some of the reforms suggested by Mr. Bakshi to other state governments are adopting State Water Policy, establishing Water Regulatory Authority, forming Water Users’ Associations (WUAs) and introducing water audit.
During the event, World Trade Centre Mumbai honoured Ms. Meena Sankaran, Founder & CEO of Ketos Inc (USA) for developing digital solution to address water conservation, water safety and food safety. Under Ms. Sankaran’s leadership, Ketos revolutionized water intelligence through real-time, automated, smart-connected (internet of things) monitoring and predictive correlation of water metrics. The technology developed by Ketos offers proactive insights and actionable metrics for enhancing healthcare, addressing water conservation, water safety and food safety. The technology developed by Ketos is also capable of providing early warning signals for flooding, of the kind witnessed in Mumbai as a result of heavy downpour on August 29, 2017 and in 2005.
Accepting the Honour, Ms. Sankaran remarked, ”Water is life. The need and demand for a crucial resource like water is so high that it is the responsibility of every individual, corporate (private), public sector and critical policy stakeholders to work cohesively for a broader impact with the best of minds.”
Ms. Sankaran informed that around 37.7 million Indians are affected by water borne diseases every year. This results in an economic burden of USD 600 million per annum.
Dr. Suresh Kulkarni, Secretary, MWRRA presented an overview on the demand and supply scenario in the water sector in Maharashtra. He remarked, “We must understand the value of water and be ready to pay for it.” He informed that the demand for water in Maharashtra may grow to 100 billion cubic metre by 2030 from around 40 billion cubic metre in 2014. Dr. Kulkarni further informed that while agriculture sector uses 85% of the total available water, it contributes only 19% to the revenue of the state water department. Industry, on the other hand, contributes 59% to the revenue of the state water department, even as it consumes only 2% of the available water, Dr. Kulkarni added.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President – All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and Vice Chairman – World Trade Centre Mumbai said, “Everybody must be conscious of the value of water. We must conserve water through water harvesting, reuse and recycling technologies. Today, India has enough water availability. However, the capacity for storing the water is not adequate. Proper management and distribution of water is the need of the hour in this country. By creating new water storage infrastructure, we can prevent incidence of flood and its economic damage. Government of Maharashtra is doing a commendable job to increase the storage capacity of water under its ambitious ‘Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan’. Under this project, the government has dug farm ponds, enhanced the depth of streams and other water bodies.”
The event was attended by consul generals, representatives of government bodies, research institutions and business organizations. Dr. Malini V. Shankar, IAS, Director General of Shipping, Government of India was felicitated during the event for taking progressive policy measures in her earlier stint as Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, Government of Maharashtra.
Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, All India Association of Industries (AIAI) proposed vote of thanks.
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)