INDIA - All fields will have irrigation facilities in the next 10 years, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister, Uma Bharati said recently.
Speaking at the National Convention of Presidents of Water Users’ Association (WUA) on participatory irrigation management in New Delhi recently, the minister said, every agricultural field in the country would have irrigation facilities in the next ten years (2024).
The minister said that in order to meet the increasing demand of water in all sectors, the availability of water needs for utilization needs to be augmented,
The issue of water use efficiency is recognised as being very important for water security in the coming years.
The irrigation sector accounts for about 80 per cent of the total water use, and therefore, it is imperative that water use efficiency is much more important in case of irrigation projects, Bharti stressed.
The minister said that the shortage of water was one of the major problems of the country, and the misuse of water should stop if India wants to conserve its water resources.
Calling for public participation on a very large scale to conserve water resources, Mr Bharati said that society should take initiatives on its own on sensitive issues like water conservation, rather than depending on government.
Mr Bharti said that an effective WUA would work towards an equitable and uniform distribution of available canal water among all users, ensure adequate repair and maintenance of watercourses and keep it in running condition by clearing of the silt and vegetation.
A functional WUA would ensure the efficient and economical use of canal water and take the assistance of the agricultural extension programme to decide the type of crop for the optimum utilisation of available water, Mr Bharati adds.
Mr Bharti said that her ministry had been promoting PIM and had requested the state governments to enact legislation for involvement and participation of farmers in the irrigation management at different levels.
Though over 84,000 WUA have been formed in the country, their functional efficiency in ensuring efficient water use and equitable water allocation is far from satisfactory, Mr Bharati said.
The minister hoped that deliberations among the different stakeholders in this convention would be very useful in the overall objective of increasing water use efficiency and provide necessary recommendations to find viable solution to the problems being faced in the irrigation sector.
The ministry envisaged providing an open forum for the farmers and WUA to discuss the role of the water resources ministry, the state governments and WUA.
Water resources ministry secretary Anuj Kumar Bishnoi; additional secretary Dr Amarjit Singh and A B Pandya, chairman, Central Water Commission were also present at the convention..