PM’s climate change council clears National Water Mission

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change Friday gave in principle approval to the National Water Mission and suggested that its basic approach should be to make water conservation a peoples’ movement in the country.

The council meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, discussed steps to make available all data on water in the public domain so as to mobilise citizens, local and state governments for focused action on water conservation and augmentation.

An official spokesman said that the meeting decided to raise efficiency of water use by 20 percent through the promotion of water-positive and water-neutral technologies.

The prime minister highlighted the need to create a general consciousness about the need to use water in the most sustainable manner.

He said that political leadership at the local and state levels and civil society organisations need to be involved in activities of the Water Mission and an integrated approach based on basin development planning should be evolved.

The meeting decided that the first step in the direction of involving political leadership at various levels would be to prepare a comprehensive water data base in the public domain and assess the impact of climate change on water.

Action would be focused on vulnerable areas, where ground water is overexploited.

Members felt that a structure of incentives should be created for using water in a sustainable manner and focus should be on research and development requirements of the mission.

Many members also stressed the need to use the opportunities provided by Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as it prioritises community-level water security.

The National Water Mission is among the eight national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change released in 2008.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Non-Conventional and Renewable Energy Resources Minister Farooq Abdullah, Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister (Independent Charge) Kumari Selja, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh were among those present at the meeting.