Water will be an important issue that will decide elections in the future, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said today, stressing upon the need for effective water management. “Water is such an issue, it will decide future elections. Governments will be voted out if they will not manage water well because people need water,” Kant said at water summit organised by industry body CII. “Governments which do not manage water, will loose elections. It is very important that water is brought on the centre-stage,” he said. On overdrawal of ground water he said: “If we look around Northern India – Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, we don’t have any regulation. This has led to high over-exploitation of water in last one decade. Punjab, Delhi…are slowly turning into desert.” Kant also stressed on the need for separation of feeder for rural and urban areas for power supply which is used for irrigation. “We are already a water stressed country. We are rapidly moving towards water scarce country. The challenge is that what is the way forward to manage its water resources,” he said.
According to industry estimates, India accounts for 17 per cent of the World’s population and has just 4 per cent of the fresh water resources. Irrigation consumes about 84 per cent of its water. Industrial and domestic usage is just 12 per cent and 4 per cent respectively. Ground water accounts for 62 per cent of the irrigation use. There is total dependence on ground water in India. “India consumes 2-4 per cent more water to produce one gram of food crop compared China, Brazil and US. Per drop more crop is therefore imperative,” Kant said.
“Water is very critical resource. Water is determent… whether we are able to achieve rapid economic growth, whether we are able to improve the quality of life of our people and whether we can do it in an environmentally sustainable manner,” he added.