NEW DELHI: While 11 states in the country are facing severe drought conditions, water storage level in country’s 91 major reservoirs fell to a new low with only 17 percent of total storage capacity available in these reservoirs. This was 60 percent of the storage of corresponding period of last year.
The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 157.799 BCM while for the week ending on June 2, 2016 the water was 26.611 BCM. The southern and western regions have lowest water availability levels at 10 percent and 13 percent respectively. Majority of states have lesser storage this year compared to last year.
With question being raised about Centre and states preparedness in drought like situation, Union Ministry of Water Resources has come up with draft national water framework bill and draft model bill for conservation, protection, regulation and management of ground water. The bill also talks about penalizing for affecting quality of groundwater.
“Whoever does any activity, which prejudicially affects the quality of groundwater or availability thereof shall be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to one year and six months or with a fine, which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both,” said the draft bill put in public domain for comments.
The Draft National Water Framework Bill provides an overarching national legal framework based on principles for protection, conservation, regulation and management of water as a vital and stressed natural resource, under which legislation and executive action on water at all levels of governance can take place.
The Draft Ground Water Model Bill is based on the principles of subsidarity, equitable distribution in an integrated approach. The State should act as a public trustee of ground water, which should be treated as a common pool resource to make sure that groundwater is protected, conserved, regulated and managed.