Water is precious and must be rationally priced: Minister


New Delhi: Calling for efficient use and conservation of water, notably in irrigation, Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Wednesday said this scarce and precious resource must be priced adequately in the country.

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“Something that is in short supply must be rationally priced,” Bansal said at an event to launch a new initiative to promote efficient water management activities, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

“Pricing must be rational.”

The comments are significant since official statistics suggest that 83 percent of water in the country is used for irrigation, but pricing of water for agriculture is not only politically sensitive but also requires the cooperation of state governments.

Bansal, who was allotted the water portfolio again in the recent cabinet reshuffle, had told IANS last week he will unveil a new water policy by March, focused on enhancing the efficient use of water, mainly for irrigation, by 20 percent in the next five years.

“The present efficiency of water use is about 35 percent and we want to take it up to 42 percent in the next five years. This is important for conservation, preservation and augmentation,” Bansal, also parliamentary affairs minister, said in the interview.

The minister inaugurated Wednesday what is called the CII-Triveni Water Institute — aimed as a centre of excellence to involve the industry in partnership with public, private and government bodies to promote efficient water management activities.

With offices in Jaipur, New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune, the objective is to establish it as a single-point solution provider for all water-related activities in the country with active participation and support from Indian industry.