Delhi: Regulatory body for water management

Delhi govt will set up a regulatory body to streamline the water management system and may bring a legislation for stringent norms to check wastage.

New Delhi: After initiating reforms in the
water sector, Delhi government will soon set up a regulatory
body to streamline the water management system and may bring a
legislation to put in place stringent norms to check wastage
of resource.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is also chairperson of
Delhi Jal Board, said Government was very sincere in improving
water management system and the regulator would be on par with
city`s power regulator Delhi Electricity Regulator Commission

Indicating that government may bring a legislation to
curb wastage of water, she said there was a need to "make
people pay for every drop of water they use."
"At the moment, Delhi is facing a difficult and critical
situation with regard to water. Existing water laws are
ambivalent and there is need for a strong legislation. We are
currently in the process of setting up a water regulatory body
on par with the DERC," Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said
addressing a seminar.

"India is rather spoilt. People don`t pay for most
resources they use, as a result they don`t value what they
get. Once you make people pay for every drop of water they
use, they will learn to value it more," she said.

Echoing the Chief Minister`s views, Delhi`s Chief
Secretary P K Tripathi said, "People have lost value for
water. Law is the only force that can bring back respect for
the resource. Unless water is priced people won`t value it."

"Water must be priced on par with electricity and it
should not be priced according to the whims and fancies of the
public but by an independent regulatory system which is not
swayed by emotional consideration," he said.
Stating that Delhi was in an "odd situation" as most
resources are "borrowed" from neighbouring states, the Chief
Minister stressed the need to check wastage of water.

"Nothing in Delhi belongs to the capital. Everything is
borrowed, including water. So, it is all the more important to
value this precious resource," Dikshit said.

The Chief Minister was speaking at a two-day seminar on
the legal formulation for sustainable water management in
Delhi, organised by the Delhi Jal Board, the Confederation of
Indian Industry and International Development Law Organisation

The chief minister also noted that over the years the
population in the capital had grown inversely proportional to
the water supply.

"Demand for drinking water is enormous. The per capita
consumption of water in the capital is over 200 kilo litre,
which is among the highest in the world. It is difficult to
meet these demands. Ground water has also depleted rapidly. We
are literally walking above a desert," she said.

She also rued the existing "unscientific and inequitable"
water supply in the capital, saying the spurt in the number of
unauthorised colonies in the capital was one of the many
reasons for this trend.

Claiming water to be the "least regulated" resource in
the country, Tripathi stressed the need for a "national
framework" to regulate usage of the resource.

"All state governments must come under this framework,
which should be broad enough to give leeway to the states to
decide on how to use their water resources," he said.

He also voiced the need to map underground water
resources in the state and said the government was currently
collaborating with a University in Denmark for the same.

Dikshit and Tripathi stated that a sustained aggressive
campaign to save water resources was necessary, besides
spreading awareness on the need to recycle and reuse it.

The city government has already initiated reforms in water
management system by involving private entities in several
areas of the city.


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