Sunita Narain, Director General of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based research and advocacy body, stressed the need for the implementation of a water conservation law on the lines of energy conservation law.
She was speaking after releasing the seventh State of India’s Environment Report titled ‘Excreta Matters’ at a programme jointly organised by CSE and Arghyam, an NGO, here on Thursday. The report is based on a survey of 71 Indian cities, including Bangalore, Tumkur and Hubli-Dharwad, on how they have managed their water and sewage.
Acknowledging that water conservation law might not be the only solution to all the problems, she said that she will be suggesting to the Union government not to release funds (under JNNURM and other projects) to cities unless they reduce the waste generated. “Cities need to become prosperous without using more water” she said.
According to the data collected from the cities, the per capita water supply is relatively high. “A lot of water is lost in distribution. Just 5 per cent of water trickles down the slums. Over 30 per cent of water bodies are lost in the country,” she added.
“We need to plan for reuse of sewage by treating water locally and rejuvenating the groundwater and lakes, ” She added. She also lamented over the rate at which groundwater is guzzled without any account.
A Ravindra, advisor to the state government on urban affairs and former chief secretary, said, “It is time for a sanitation revolution, CSE’s emphasis on sewage has come at the right time.”
BWSSB chairman Gaurav Gupta said, “The power cost of supplying Cauvery water is Rs 300 crore per year. Over a 30-year lifecycle, the operations and management expenditure will exceed the capital costs. People cannot bear this cost and therefore water must be treated as a finite resource.”
He further insisted on the inclusion of lessons on water supply and sewage system in the school curriculum.