Classified data on water resources to be made public

Aiming for better water management, including its accessibility and pricing, the Ministry of Water Resources has decided to put all classified data on surface and ground water on a Geographic Information System (GIS) platform.

The draft Hydro-Meteorological Data Dissemination Policy (2013) published by the Ministry says commercial users, either Indian or foreign, would be supplied classified data on payment of Rs 75,000 a year per site.  The data will be provided free of cost to Indian non-commercial users. However, costs of printing, photocopying and digital media as payable for providing information under Right to Information Act, 2005 would be charged.

A five-member Classified Data Committee, to be headed by a joint secretary in the Ministry of Water Resources, will take a final decision on supplying data, says the draft policy.

The data will include information collected by the Central Water Commission (CWC) relating to river water level, river discharge, sediment flow, quality of water and water quality as well as information on groundwater resources collected by Central Ground Water Board (CGWD).

Besides hydrological observation, the data will also include meteorological parameters such as rainfall, maximum-minimum temperature, humidity, pan-evaporation, solar radiation and wind velocity on some specific sites.

The draft policy has been uploaded on the Ministry website and people can submit their comments before March 31, a senior official in the Ministry told Deccan Herald.

Recently, the National Water Resources Council headed by the Prime Minister, while discussing national water policy 2012, has decided that all hydrological data other than those classified as national security, should be in public domain in open and transparent manner on a GIS platform.

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