Professors from National Law School India University (NLSIU) have prepared a comprehensive law on water management that proposes to have all departments concerning with water under one umbrella of law, implement and follow it.
Agriculture minister N H Shivashankara Reddy in December 2018 had approached Dr M K Ramesh, professor of law, NLSIU, and his team, to prepare a thorough law to include all aspects of water and its protection. Accordingly, the law professor and his team have come up with a draft law.
According to Dr Ramesh, till date, no states have come up with any comprehensive law on water except Rajasthan that had a law with some inputs from the law university.
“A law on water would bring all the stakeholders, i.e. the departments, under one umbrella of law to follow one set of rules. As far as Bengaluru is concerned, there is already an uneven distribution of water to the city dwellers. Incorporating water law and enforcing it would help everyone to get equal water supply,” he said.
Explaining about people-centric initiatives and traditions like Jal Biradari in Rajasthan and Pani Panchayat in Maharashtra, which have demonstrated enduring value of traditional wisdom and communitarian contributions to good water governance, Dr Ramesh said these traditional water conservators should be recognised and accommodated into the system of water governance in the state of their origin.
“There are traditional conservators even in Karnataka. It is just a matter of time for the government to identify them and their contribution,” he added.
The objective of the law
** Legal empowerment of water users by crystallisation of their rights and securing them.
** Accommodation and adoption of good traditions and best-practices in water resource management by communities.
** Developing linkages and strengthening the bonds of the relation between water users, line agencies, statutory bodies and constitutional institutions and evolving mechanisms for their coordinated and harmonious functioning.
** Law for conservation, protection, equitable and efficient use and to safeguard water, food and ecological security and sustainability.
** Law to converge, consolidate and harmonise all existing laws and institutions of enforcement.
** Guiding principles, the doctrine of public trust, equity, sustainable use and conservation.
** Top priority to human and ecological needs.
** Community participation, restoration, efficient, equitable, beneficial and optimal use-strategies of governance.