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Bihar Water Policy to be unveiled in March


Patna : The Bihar government will announce its drinking water and sanitation policy March 22, 2010 to mark World Water Day, a state minister said Monday.

The government was working on a draft policy, Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said adding that there were plans to introduce a dual water supply system that would supply both recycled and fresh water to the people for sanitation and drinking purposes respectively.

The government would accord top priority to drinking water in the policy, the minister said adding that the draft policy would be circulated among people’s representatives and also be made available on the PHED website for suggestions of experts and public before its formal announcement.

Choubey said the main aim to formulate the policy was promotion of water management, its conservation and efficient use.

A large part of Bihar is facing drinking water scarcity due to depletion of groundwater after the failure of monsoon and unprecedented heat for months.

Official sources in the PHED said thousands of people in Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Munger, Rohtas, Kaimur, Nawada and Bhagalpur districts were facing acute water scarcity even in winters as hand-pumps, wells and other water bodies have dried up.

According to latest figures released by the Bihar State Groundwater Directorate, the water level has gone down by 30-50 feet in several districts, including Gaya, Bhagalpur, Munger and Kaimur.

Last month, the state government decided to set up a Groundwater Regulatory Authority to conserve groundwater and ensure its proper usage, Choubey said.

The Authority would be part of the Bihar Water Policy that would be announced next year, he said, adding: “The government has decided to set up monitoring committees at the state and district levels to conserve surface water and ensure maximum use of groundwater.”