The Bureau of Water Efficiency (BWE) under the Ministry of Water Resources will be on the lines of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, set up by the Ministry of Power. The bureau will also stipulate that machines consuming water sport a water efficiency label just as energy efficiency labels are put up on air-conditioners. For this, specific water conservation building codes and consumption norms will also be drafted by the bureau.
Also, constructing homes or other buildings as per water efficiency norms could help get exemption from property tax. “The ministry has started talking with various stake holders, including industries, state governments, various departments and non-governmental organisations to this effect,” U N Panjiar, secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources told Deccan Herald.
Once the norms take shape, the bureau may ask both agriculture and industrial sectors to spread awareness about the proper use of water. Agriculture, at 80 per cent, topped the water consumption chart in the country, and industry came a close second.
“The government may give incentives to farmers or industrialists if they follow good water-efficient methods,” Panjiar said. The National Water Mission, one of the eight points under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, envisages a 20 per cent increase in efficient use of water by 2017 at the end of the Twelfth plan. With its demand rising and sources dwindling, water availability in the country is falling year after year. As per the ministry, per capita water availability in India has declined from 5,000 cubic metres in the 1950s to 1,300 cubic metres in 2010, a drop of 74 per cent in 60 years.
Though several states have started taking measures for efficient use of water by encouraging drip irrigation, growing less water consuming crops and renovating canals, the initiatives have to be further stepped up, he said. As per the latest World Bank report, if the current trend of indiscriminate tapping of groundwater is continued, in 15 years, the water level in about 60 per cent of all aquifers in India will be much less than what is required.
Saving that drop
* Water-efficiency tag on gadgets like washing machine
* Buildings to have water conservation codes
* Water-efficient buildings may be exempted from property tax
*Per capita water availability in India dipped 74 per cent in 60 years
* 29 pc of groundwater blocks either semi-critical or critical
* Incentives likely for farmers/ industrialists if they follow good water-efficient methods