Alarming Decline in J&K Water Resources, LG Expresses Concern

Jammu: The Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on Monday expressed serious concern over the depleting water resources in Jammu and Kashmir and said that his government will not allow any new locality or market to come up on water bodies.

Sinha made these remarks while reviewing the issues of Water Resources Development and Management in the UT at Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources Regulatory Authority (WRRA) complex on Monday, an official spokesperson said.

He said that the LG asserted that the conservation of water resources is the top priority of the J&K administration and that the public should also come forward to realize its duty by understanding the importance of every drop of water. Sinha also said that development was necessary, but it should not happen at the cost of natural resources.

“I assure all the citizens of UT that no new locality or market shall be allowed to come up on water bodies. Conservation of water resources is the top priority of the UT administration,” the LG said, as per the official spokesperson.

He further said that the LG observed that the UT is rich in water resources, but due to unplanned development and increase in population, the availability of clean water is very much in danger and hence, the management and regulation of water resources becomes more important.

“Managing water should not be a concern only of the authority or administration. The public should also come forward to realize their duty by understanding the importance of each drop of water,” Sinha said, as per official spokesperson.

He further said that the LG pointed out alarming situations of reducing numbers of ponds and depleting water resources and cited a survey conducted in Jammu and Kashmir in 1998 that noted that there were 1248 natural water sources, rivers, ponds etc.

“However, during the satellite mapping of the same in 2009, this number was reduced to just 565. It is a matter of serious discussion,” the LG said.

Underscoring the value of water and water resources, he said, the LG called upon all those involved in the management of water resources to understand the sensitivity of the situation.

“Considering our water resources as living bodies, we have put in all our efforts for their effective management using technical tools, so that we can save water resources for the future generation,” he said, as per official spokesperson.

He further said that Sinha observed that necessary focus was not given to water resources management in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There have been many discussions in the past on water resources development and management, rehabilitation of rivers and lakes and flood control, but no concrete work has been done on the basis of them,” the LG said.

According to the official spokesperson, the LG also noted that the Jammu and Kashmir Water Regulatory Authority was established in 2012 and a water policy was also planned in 2016-17, but could not be implemented in a scientific way.

“Like the authority of other states and UT, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the authority had wide rights for inter-regional allocation of water, project evaluation, establishment of water tariff, etc. But still, there were many shortcomings,” the official spokesperson quoted LG as saying.

He further said that the LG observed that all water resources are not self sustainable and that rational management is necessary for better and sustainable management of our precious water resources.

“Quoting the old adage that necessity is the mother of invention, the Lt Governor said that the best water resources management done in the world is by Israel. Whether it is Drip irrigation, Advance Filtration, Water Leakage Detection, RainWater Collection or Treatment System, all these techniques were invented by Israel. Israel has given a revolutionary contribution in the water management system,” the official spokesperson said.

The LG, he said, expressed his gratitude towards the Prime Minister for signing MoUs with a number of countries which are pioneers in Water Resources Management. Under these MoUs, technical expertise on water resources development and management is to be shared through the workshops. A number of states including Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have taken the benefit of the expertise of Israel in Desalination of water bodies.

“The Lt Governor asserted that with Sh. G. S. Jha as the Chairperson of the JK-WRRA, many previous issues have been resolved and with his rich experience as Chairman of Central Water Commission, much more work would happen in Water Resources Management in the UT. The Lt Governor assured all support of the UT administration to the Authority and added that sanction has been granted for filling 19 additional posts in JK WRRA,” the official spokesperson said.

Later, as per the official spokesperson, Israeli expert Mr. Niv Pintow gave a detailed presentation on Water Resources Management and optimum development in J&K. Pertinently, Mr. Niv and the team of Mekorot Company has already done significant work in Punjab and Maharashtra in the field of Water Resources management.

The official spokesperson said that the LG also informed that an MoU has also been signed with a Space agency of England to provide necessary inputs in formulation of required plans to efficiently tackle floods like the one that happened in 2014.

“This is a major step and will help in providing risk forecasts in terms of casualties due to floods in the river, collapse of buildings, disruptions in infrastructure and economic losses,” he said, as per official spokesperson.

According to the official spokesperson, Engineer Ghanshyam Jha, Chairperson Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources Regulatory Authority, described the agenda of the Authority and the policy framework to improve Water Assessment, inter-sectoral allocation, regulation, enforcement, irrigation, flood mitigation and other important issues for effective management of water resources.

He also thanked the Lt Governor for creation of 19 posts in the Authority for its smooth functioning, the official spokesperson added.

BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; M.Raju, Commissioner Secretary, Jal Shakti Department; Chief Engineers and other senior officers of Jal Shakti Department and JK WRRA were present during the presentation.

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