MUMBAI: Union water resources minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Tuesday urged corporates to join hands with the government to ensure water security by adopting water bodies and rejuvenating them.
The government is taking various steps to ensure water security for all.
But now we want the people to take up this initiative as government alone cannot do everything, the minister said.
"Rejuvenation of water bodies is not too expensive. If every corporate adopts at least one water body each, we will be able to achieve water security for all at a much faster pace," he told an investor summit organized by brokerage Motilal Oswal.
Citing the example of 'Sujalam Suphalam' scheme in Gujarat and the 'Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan' in Rajasthan where lawmakers and government employees contributed a portion of their salaries, he said, "if these were successful, I am confident, we can make it happen as well."
The minister said the government is progressing well on its river-linking project under the national perspective plan (NPP).
"Every year we are faced with droughts and floods. This year saw the maximum rainfall in various parts of the country and all the river water flow into the sea unutilised. We believe that river linking will help reduce the effects of floods and droughts to some extent," he said.
Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency has identified 30 river for inter-linking (16 under the peninsular component and 14 under the Himalayan component) for feasibility reports.
The government has identified four priority links to prepare the DPR under the peninsular component including the Ken-Betwa project (UP & MP), the Damanganga-Pinjal and the Par-Tapi-Narmada projects (Maharashtra & Gujarat) and the Godavari-Cauvery project in AP & TN.
Shekhawat further said the government is advancing well on the Ganga rejuvenation project and the river water will be clean from Devprayag (origin) till Haridwar-Rishikesh in Uttarakhand under the stipulated timeframe.
"I am confident when we celebrate the 2021 Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand, everyone will be able to drink Ganga water. It will be that clean. We want to clean the river right up to Bengal," he added.
It can be noted that the government is faced with a huge funding gap to go ahead with these projects as a recent report by American brokerage BofA-ML pegged the investment needed to ensure tap water to households will be a hefty USD 270 billion over the next 5-15 years.
Of this USD 168 billion will be needed for just linking these identified rivers.