The Ministry of Water Resources celebrated World Water Day- 2011 here today. On this occasion, 3rd Ground Water Congress is also being organized. The function was inaugurated Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Water Resources and Minority Affairs. Shri Vincent H. Pala, Minister for State for Water Resources and Minority Affairs; and Shri D.V. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, were also present on the occasion. The theme for World Water Day-2011 is ‘Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge’. Commensurate with the theme the Congress has special focus on the urban areas.Opening the celebration of World Water Day- 2011 and inaugurating the 3rd National Ground Water Congress, Shri Salman Khurshid called upon the delegates to deliberate on the emergent issues, in view of the rising urban population, scarcity and deterioration of urban water resources and climate change and come out with recommendations on appropriate strategies / action plans on sustainable management of ground water resources especially in urban context with new technologies and involvement of public participation in awareness and capacity building programs.
Addressing the gathering Shri Vincent H. Pala said that two serious challenges that we face today are Food Security and Safe Drinking Water for all. Water is central to both the challenges. To address these issues Government has formulated National Water Mission and National Action Plan on Climate change. He appreciated the involvement of all the stake holders in overcoming the challenges.
During the function, awards were presented to organizations and individuals for their outstanding work in conservation and augmentation of ground water. Jagabalia Watershed Association, an NGO from Orissa, bagged the coveted National Water Award. Ground Water augmentation awards were presented to four NGO’s: one in each zone. Sarvodaya Seva Sangh, Outreach Association of Volunteers for Rural Development, S M Sahgal Foundation, and Rural Resource and Training Center received the awards for West, South, North and North-East zone respectively. Pudussery Gram Panchayat from Kerala, Nawthawtieng Gram Panchayat from Meghalaya & Chidawad Gram Panchayat from MP received the Ground Water Augmentation Award for South, North East and Central Zone respectively. Farmers Participatory Action Research Programme (FPARP) Awards went to Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Haryana; and Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture, Hyderabad. Ambuja Cements Ltd., Gujarat received the award for the Corporate Sector. The individual / institution winners were Shri Shyamji Bhai Jadhav Bhai Antala, Rajkot; Shri Uma Kant Umarao, Bhopal; and Loyala High Scholl, Goa.
In the inaugural function the Congress volume, Compendium on the Awardees, a report on Coastal Aquifer Systems of India and a compilation of paintings of National Painting Competition organized by the Ministry of Water Resources were also released.