'Treat water as fundamental human right'

Comparative assessment of water sector, technology in Canada, India held

He was speaking at a day-long workshop on ‘Comparative and strategic assessment of water sector and water technology in the city of Mysore and city of Hamilton’ organised by National Institute of Engineering (NIE) here on Tuesday.

Terming water scarcity as a ‘national priority’, Prof Murthy observed that despite being on the path to achieve food security, the country is yet to focus on water security.

Describing supply of water to urban inhabitants as a responsibility of the State, he said that lack of coordination among the several agencies involved in transporting, distributing water was the reason for the poor management. Citing the need for a simplified constitutional framework, with clearly defined responsibilities for managing resources effectively, Prof Murthy reiterated that water shouldn’t be treated as a commodity.

Observing that 20 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water, Prof Murthy mentioned that children are the most vulnerable if sanitation and recurrence of water-borne diseases are not checked frequently.

He explained that the key ingredient for providing clean drinking water was good governance, use and reuse of water and infrastructure. Capacity building, training, integration and strategic planning are also essential in order to ensure adequate supply, he added.

Explaining that there was tendency among people to think that water is available in abundance, Prof Murthy said that it has been used carelessly.

He said that in Canada, incentives are given to people based on the amount of water they have used and it has worked out quite well. He also said that the challenges faced in Canada are mainly due to corrosion and water losses. However, the major factor among governments is to anticipate the needs rather than have a reactive principle, he added.

NIE President S R Subbarao, Principal G L Shekar, Associate Dean, Research and External Relations, McMaster University, Canada, Dr Peter Mascher and Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Dr Carlos Filipe were present.

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