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Don't just write letters to states, take time-bound action to check water wastage: NGT to Centre

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 17, 2019  | 18:52 IST

New Delhi, Oct 17 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has expressed dissatisfaction over the report filed by the Centre on checking water wastage, and said that apart from writing letters to states there has to be specific time-bound action plan, monitoring and coercive steps. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson NGT Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said though response has been filed both by the Ministry of Jal Shakti as well as Delhi Jal Board, it does not show clear enforceable policy to check such misuse and wastage. "The affidavit is vague and general," it said. It is stated that letters have been written to the states, the bench said, adding that this step by itself can hardly be enough to discharge the public trust reposed in the Ministry of Jal Shakti. "Apart from writing letter, there has to be specific time-bound action plans and monitoring which should include coercive measures for enforcement. "The affidavit filed by the DJB is also wholly inadequate to address the problem. A very meagre amount is said to have been recovered in spite of acknowledged problem of wastage of potable water. The environment law is not complied by recovery of some token amount from the violators," the bench said. The NGT directed the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the DJB to plan appropriate measures be planned and file action taken by e-mail before December 12. The tribunal had earlier sought an action taken report from the Centre about saving water on a plea for making its wastage a penal offence, and noted that 33 percent people in India do that just by keeping the taps running even when not in use, especially during activities such as brushing and bathing. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Rajendra Tyagi, a BJP councillor from Ghaziabad and an NGO, Friends, alleging that steps are not being taken to prevent the misuse of water. The wastage of water is taking place in many ways such as overflowing of overhead tanks in residential and commercial areas, the plea had said. According to the applicants, 4,84,20,000 cubic metres of water is wasted every single day and around 163 million population of the country is facing deprivation of fresh, drinkable water at the hands of few others who are almost habitual of wasting and misusing precious fresh potable water. "Around 600 million people are facing extreme water stress in the country. Millions of litres of fresh potable water are being wasted in absence of appropriate regulations or action-plans to curb the same. Flushing systems are also a major cause of fresh potable water wastage in households and commercial complexes, wasting around 15-16 litres of water in a single flush," the plea said. Referring to a study, it said that one out of three people in India tend to waste water by keeping the water running from faucets that discharge as much as five litres in a minute while a regular shower flows out 10 litres of water per minute. "Running water during a 3-5 minute regular brushing activity wastes around 25 litres of water. A 15-20 minute showering wastes around 50 litres of water when a person applies soap or shampoo. In dish washing, people have a tendency to keep the water running because of which around 20-60 litres of water from a single household is wasted," said the plea. Deep borewells installed by inhabitants in rural areas which already have hand-pumps and tubewells for drinking and domestic purposes have also emerged a big mode of water wastage/misuse, it said. "Other major causes of wastage/misuse of fresh water are washing cars with high pressure water pumps both in households as well as service stations, incessant floor washing, swimming pools in cities and towns, using old and outdates washing machines and dishwashers," said the plea, filed through advocate Akash Vashishtha. The demand for water is expected to grow from 40 billion cubic metres currently to around 220 billion cubic metres in 2025. Water wastage has assumed alarming proportions even as the situation is worsening day by day and needs to be arrested for the future generations, the plea said. "As many as 162 blocks in the country have been notified by the Central Ground Water Authority for regulation of groundwater extraction and many more are in the process of being notified. The Composite Water Management Index report prepared by the Niti Ayog has clearly cautioned that 21 cities in India will run out of groundwater as soon as by 2020, affecting 100 million people," it had said. PTI PKS SA

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