From next year the ‘World Water Day’ will be extended to a full week and celebrated as ‘World Water Week’ to reach out to all the states, schools, colleges and media to highlight various issues relating to water. Announcing this here today, while inaugurating the Annual Conference of Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of various States and Union territories dealing with Water Resources Management aspects, Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister for Water Resources, also emphasized the necessity of taking up the issues of interlinking of rivers/inter-basin linking, flood management, etc. for better water management. The one- day Conference was convened by the Ministry of Water Resources to discuss important issues related to the development and management of water sector. It was attended by the representatives of 27 States & UTs as well as by the representatives of related Central Ministries/Departments.Shri Salman Khurshid stressed that the larger macro issue is about quickly increasing irrigation potential. He further raised two specific points – the first being how to make a turn around and to reverse the trend of ingress of waste water into the clean water which is the main cause of water pollution. In this context, he cited the example of Yamuna river where the clean water is turning contaminated due to ingress of waste water. Secondly, he stressed upon the issue of increasing water use efficiency and increasing irrigation potential creation by lining of canals etc. He emphasized the need of ground water recharge, ensuring enough catchment area for storing water in tanks. Shri Khurshid invited suggestions from the delegates to address the issue of encroachment of water bodies for their revival and restoration. In this context he cited the Dal and Nagin Lakes in J&K which need revival. Further, he informed that the National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency will be established to address water use efficiency issues.
Secretary (Water Resources), Shri Dhruv Vijai Singh, called upon the participants to discuss as to how the ongoing programmes/ schemes would translate into a new vision for XII Plan. He stressed the need to further increase irrigation potential and delivering all the benefits to the common people. He mentioned some of the view points of states for increasing AIBP assistance from the present 25%. The Secretary called upon the state officials for having discussion on new schemes whether in the area of ground water or relating to technical assistance. He further stressed that more emphasis should be on possible effects of climate change and adaptation issues.