Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President at the virtual inauguration of 2nd National Water Awards Ceremony, in New Delhi on November 11, 2020.

New Delhi | November 11, 2020

“I am delighted to participate virtually in this function to give away National Water Awards -2019.
My compliments the Ministry of Jal Shakti for this wonderful initiative to felicitate individuals, organizations, local bodies and others for their dedicated efforts in water conservation and effective management of water resources.
This is a much-needed initiative to recognize and acknowledge the efforts of various state governments, organizations and individuals. My compliments to Tamil Nadu, which bagged the ‘Best State’ award and Maharashtra and Rajasthan for securing the second and third prizes respectively!
I also extend my appreciation to Mizoram State for bagging the award under Special Category and all other winners.
I am delighted to note that the categories include various stakeholders such as Best District, Best Village Panchayat and Best Urban Local Body.
Among others, awards are being given for Best Research, Innovation, Adaptation of New Technology for Water Conservation, Best Education/Mass Awareness Efforts, Best TV Show for Promoting Water Conservation, Best Newspaper, Best School, Best Institution/RWA, Religious Organization, Best Industry for Industrial Water Conservation and Best Water Regulatory Authority.
Similarly, Best Water Warrior, Best NGO for Water Conservation, Best Water Users Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity are selected for the awards.
Dear sisters and brothers,
India’s current water requirement is estimated to be around 1100 billion cubic meters per year. It is projected to touch 1447 BCM by 2050.
India has more than 18% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the world’s renewable water resources and 2.4% of world’s land area.
A scarce natural resource, water is fundamental to life, livelihood, food security and sustainable development and it is our duty to take all possible steps for conservation of this limited precious resource.
We need to take this message far and wide and to every corner of the country.
I feel that there is a need for a sustained mass media campaign to make people aware of the crucial importance of conserving every drop of water. Schools, colleges, universities, communities, NGOs and local bodies must become active partners in this drive.
It should be remembered that only 3% of the water available on earth constitutes fresh water. And only 0.5 % of that is available for drinking while the rest is trapped in glaciers, ice caps, atmosphere, etc.
Reduced use of water also results in less use of energy required for pumping and supplying water to homes, offices and farming activities. In effect, it also will also help in reducing pollution.
Unless we reduce the wastage of water and take up saving and conservation of water on a war footing, there is a danger of potable water becoming a scarce resource in the future.
With the rising population, urbanization, industrialization and expanding agricultural activities, the water requirement will continue to increase.
The key message that needs to be taken to people, again and again, is this: the water that is available is finite. It is not unlimited. It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to save water and use it judiciously. The need of the hour is to change our lifestyles and make water conservation a way of life.
Dear sisters and brothers,
The erstwhile Ministries of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and Drinking Water and Sanitation were merged to form the Ministry of Jal Shakti in May 2019 to deal with the issue of water in an integrated manner.
The main aim was to bring all aspects of water within a single umbrella. This marked a paradigm shift--from a compartmentalized approach to a comprehensive and holistic way of addressing the issues relating to water.
I am happy to note that the National Water Policy is being revisited to create a robust policy framework for effective water management in the country.
Since 2014 as water governance has been placed at the forefront of the country’s development agenda. The positive results of Namami Gange Programme, the expeditious completion of irrigation projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, renewed participatory approach towards groundwater management through Atal Bhujal Yojana, the improvement in the availability of hydrological data and the National Project on Aquifer Management exemplify the holistic transformation taking place in India’s water sector.
The much-needed policy reform with the creation of Jal Shakti Ministry has given an impetus to integrated management of water resources with a special focus on demand and supply management.
Commendably, the policy planners made judicious and active interventions at multiple levels to address individual elements of water management. Soon after the creation of the Jal Shakti Ministry, Jal Jeevan Mission was launched with the aim of providing a functional tap to every household by 2024.
Simultaneously, Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), an aggressive and time-bound water conservation campaign was carried out from July to December 2019 covering 256 districts across India. Jal Shakti Abhiyan aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication.
I am aware that Jal Shakti Abhiyan is being vigorously supplemented by the activities of National Water Mission to increase water consciousness in the country with an emphasis on the importance of water conservation, reuse and recharge and raising awareness on the indispensability of water as a resource.
I am also happy to note that steps have been taken to ensure water security in urban as well as rural India.
After successfully organizing National Water Awards 2018, the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti instituted National Water Awards again in September 2019 in as many as 16 categories.
It is a proud moment for all of us to have gathered here today on a virtual platform for a cause that has received special attention especially since the launch of Jal Shakti Abhiyan and Jal Jeevan Mission.
The awards are meant to not only recognize the good work done by the people in the water sector but also aimed at motivating various stakeholders for effective management of water resources in the country.
Even though the award ceremony was planned earlier, it was postponed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, the felicitation ceremony is now being organized on this virtual platform.
It is also heartening to see that really good work is being done by the district administrations and panchayats. It shows the growing sensitivity of local authorities towards the preservation and conservation of natural resources.
It is my firm belief that decentralized planning plays a vital role in the planning, execution and management of natural resources.
My suggestion to the municipal authorities and other local bodies is to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for every new building.
The role of corporates in effective reuse of water is essential in the management of the resource. It is imperative that every section of our society plays its part to bring about a Jan Andolan in India.
In my opinion, micro-irrigation practices like drip and sprinkler systems have to be promoted in a big way for efficient use of water for agriculture. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be the watchwords if we have to handover a sustainable and liveable planet to the future generations.
Watershed development is another area that can spur local economic development, job creation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience.
I am happy to see that some of the winners have been adopting best practices in the field of water conservation.
I congratulate all the winners and hope that they will continue to do good work in water conservation.
I would like to once again convey my appreciation to the Ministry of Jal Shakti for giving these Awards for the wonderful cause of water conservation and acknowledging the outstanding work done by various stakeholders across the country.
This platform also offers a window for new perspectives and to learn from the best practices in the area of water resources. I am sure that steps like these will go a long way in the development of water consciousness in the country, which is the need-of-the-hour.