New Delhi: Union Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday sought consensus for a policy on rational distribution of water as the issue was posing a bigger challenge.
"Water cannot be manufactured. Firstly, there is a need to take care of the source that is the ecosystem. Secondly, it needs to be allocated judiciously which is a bigger challenge. There is a need to come up with a formula which is acceptable to all," Prabhu said while inaugurating 'Water Security For All' conference here.
He said agriculture is a major consumer of water in India and there is a need to use it more efficiently to save it.
"Agriculture as a sector consumes 80 percent of water in our country. There is a need to get agriculture policies in place. Agriculture needs to become more efficient in order to save water and release it to other sectors," Prabhu said.
"We need to find a solution which is representing the views of the entire nation."
Referring to recent heavy rains in Chennai, he said, "Sometime a lot of water available. Sometime there is no water. We have to make sure that water is available when there is no availability of water. We need to find a solution."
The conference aimed to act as a forum to help design policies that can meet the aggregate demand for water among increasing competition from households, industry and agriculture.
As India's population continues to grow each year by more than 15 million and the economy grows by 6 to 10 percent, the availability of water continues to decline.
In 2010, the World Health Organisation estimated that 97 million Indians lack access to safe water, second only to China.