Water is a natural resource, fundamental to life, livelihood, food security and sustainable development. It is also a scarce resource. India has more than 18 percent of the world’s population, but has only 4 percent of world’s renewable water resources with 2.4 percent of world’s land area. There are further limits on utilizable quantities of water owing to uneven distribution over time, as 75 percent of annual rainfall is received in just four months. Also region wise it varies from 10 cm rainfall in Rajasthan to 1000 cm in North Eastern Region. In addition, there are challenges of frequent floods and droughts in one or the other part of the country. With a growing population and rising needs of a fast developing nation as well as the given indicators of the impact of climate change, per capita availability of water is likely to go down from 1545 cubic metre/yr, in 2011 to 1341 cubic metre/yr, in 2025. The increasing demand of water for various purposes will further strain with the possibility of deepening water conflicts among different user groups as drinking water need is going to rise by 44 percent, irrigation need by 10 percent, industry need by 81 percent respectively by 2025.
In view of this, the Ministry of Water Resources prepared the National Water Policy (2012), which was adopted by the National Water Resources Council headed by the Prime Minister on Dec. 28, 2012. This takes cognizance of the existing situation and proposed a framework for creation of a system of laws and institutions and a plan of action with a unified national perspective. The major concern is of the increasing demand which is leading to growing water stress and causing conflicts among citizens / societies as a result of over usage or diversion of water and due to competition amongst different users. Hence, there is a need for greater awareness on water conservation for optimal usage of the existing resources.
Water Conservation is also the key objective of the National Water Mission which is one of the eight National Missions under the National Action Plan for Climate Change. This envisages conservation, minimizing wastage and ensuring more equitable distribution of water resources both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management.
The effective water resources management must be underpinned by knowledge and understanding of the availability of the resource itself, the uses to which water is put and the challenges facing the users of water at all levels of stake holders. This can be done by creating mass awareness on the measures that can be taken to address the challenges affecting every living being.
A number of mass awareness activities will be undertaken during Water Conservation Year – 2013 with emphasis on sensitizing the masses on water related issues, encourage them to conserve and use it judiciously.
The policies and programmes of the Ministry of Water Resources will be propagated to create a sustainable society and economy.
An effective and sustained mass awareness programme will be launched with the involvement of all stakeholders to achieve the objectives identified in the National Water Policy, 2012 and National Water Mission.
The multi-dimensional awareness programme will help in development of self-consciousness of the individuals as well as the masses on the issue of water conservation and its judicious use.
The activities will be undertaken in all parts of the country so as to touch each and every corner of the country.
As an impact of the above the people will become conscious of the importance of the limited natural resources of water, the ways and means to use water judiciously and addressing the local water related problems, thereby contributing to the sustainable use of water resources through collective responsibility. Each and every individual of this country, be it households, farmers, industrialists, children etc. will be the beneficiary.