New Delhi: Urging people to conserve water, union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti on Monday said water conservation is essential for country's sustainable development.
"Increasing demand for water for various purposes on account of growing population, industrialisation and urbanisation pose serious challenges of creating facilities for conservation and proper utilisation of available water resources," the minister said while inaugurating the fourth edition of the 'India Water Week' here.
She said deterioration of water quality -- of river water as also of the ground water -- were serious issues. She also said that the likely impact of climate change on water resources adds to the existing challenges.
"We have to address these issues on priority. Efforts are required at all levels and joint efforts are necessary to ensure that all sections of the society get benefited from water, the precious gift of the nature to us," Bharti said.
The aim of the water week -- 'Water for All: Striving Together' -- is not merely the theme for this year's India Water Week but also the need of the hour for all of us," she added.
Referring to inter-linking of rivers, she said the central government was fully committed for water security through implementation of interlinking of rivers projects.
Welcoming participation of Israel as a partner country in India's efforts to conserve water, Bharti said she considered Israel as a 'guru' (teacher) who can teach the world how to save water.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely underlined the importance of water conservation in the agricultural development of the country.
He said investment in irrigation projects show immediate results vis-a-vis investment in other sectors.
Underlining the contribution of agriculture in India's economy, Jaitley observed that during the past two years the country had erratic monsoon which calls for more attention on water management.
He also termed water as the greatest gift of nature to the mankind and asked people to conserve it.
He said optimal use of the resource was necessary.
"Water is one of the greatest gifts of nature to mankind. Without water, without air human life would itself become meaningless may be non-existent. Therefore conservation of that water and optimal utility of that water for preservation of whatever else exists, is absolutely necessary," Jaitley said.
For the fourth edition of India Water Week, Israel is associated as the partner country and about 1,500 delegates from India and 20 other countries would attend the conclave.