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Water management systems reflect existing socio-economic structures: Ansari

April 13, 2011 - New Delhi

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari today said that water management systems have traditionally reflected existing socio-economic structures and governance mechanisms.

Addressing at "India Water Forum-2011" and the "International Water Convention on Water Security and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities" here, Ansari said: "Those formulating public policy regarding this vital resource must therefore cater to essential requirement and ensure sustainability of eco systems so that there is availability of adequate water for every one."

Emphasising that India has 2.4 per cent of the world's area, 16 per cent of the world's population but only 4 per cent of the total available fresh water, Ansari said: "Our main water resources consist of annual precipitation of around four thousand cubic kilometers and a broad estimate of trans-boundary flows from upper riparian neighbours of around five hundred cubic kilometers.

"Out of the total precipitation, annual availability from surface and ground water is estimated at 1869 cubic kilometers," he added.

He, however, said only 60 per cent of this at 1123 cubic kilometers is estimated to be capable of being put to beneficial use, 690 cubic kilometers of which is surface water and 433 cubic kilometers being replenish-able ground water.

He further said that water stress and scarcity would have a significant impact on the prospects of Indian companies operating in various sectors including agriculture and agro-industry, irrigation, mining, pulp and paper, iron and steel, and power generation.

"Regulators, investors and citizens alike must demand corporate water disclosure, including plans and policies for water consumption, use and disposal and whether environmental concerns have been addressed," he added.

Stressing that the picture of water security across the country is indeed one of major concern, Ansari said: "The problem of floods has been exacerbated due to degradation of catchment areas and loss of flood plains to urban development and agriculture. Water conflict has taken new forms with more menacing consequences."

"Climate change issues have further complicated the water calculus. It is likely to alter precipitation received in our territory, the hydrology of catchments in upper riparian neighbouring countries, and the distribution and quality of water resources in the country," he added.


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