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Govt's 'Catch The Rain' project to help in reducing urban flooding - Addl Secretary & Mission Director, National Water Mission

Jul 15, 2020

NEW DELHI, 15 July 2020: Mr G Asok Kumar, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Water Mission, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India, today said that water harvesting and conservation can help in mitigating the problem of urban flooding in the country.

 

Addressing FICCI webinar 'Groundwater Recharge and Aquifer Management', Mr Kumar said, "Urban flooding has become a common phenomenon because we don't have 'Catch the Rain' concept. I urge the industry and all stakeholders to ensure that all the rainwater should be compounded and stored in a place where we can easily use it. We should not allow this water to go as waste in rivers or drains, which causes flood in urban areas. In urban areas, housing projects should be encouraged for rainwater harvesting to improve the ground level of the water."

 

Emphasizing the importance of groundwater recharge, Mr Kumar said that National Water Mission's project 'Catch the Rain' has been initiated to nudge states and stakeholders to keep ready rainwater harvesting structures before the onset of the monsoon with emphasis on catch the rain as it falls, where it falls. "We have urged institutions having a large land area like railways, airports, universities along with public sector undertakings to ensure that rainwater is stored in their compound and not wasted. Water coming out from the compound as waste is already polluted and leads to polluting the fresh water as well," he added.

 

Elaborating on the concept, Mr Kumar stated that 'Catch the Rain' looks at the supply side management of the issues related to groundwater. We already have the 'Sahi Fasal' campaign to manage the demand side of water use in agriculture. "We don't want water falling in one area to be transported to another area because of the inefficiencies associated with water transportation. Rainwater, wherever it is falling, should be stored at that place only. It will help in improving the water table and the soil moisture," he said.

 

Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Past President, FICCI and Chairman, FICCI Water Mission; Chairman, Advent Private Equity said, "Groundwater management needs to involve all users. Corporates are doing water conservation around and within their premises. Industry should replicate what is working and make water use efficiency part of its DNA. Water conservation is also increasingly appearing in sustainability reports of companies."

 

Mr Mukund Vasudevan, Co-Chair, FICCI Water Mission and MD & Country Head, Ecolab India said that there is a need to look at groundwater recharge in three buckets of reducing demand for groundwater, treating aquifers as strategic reserves like it is done in the US for underground oil reserves, and recharge aquifers with continuous measurement of impacts. 

 

Dr Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director, ACWADAM, a renowned expert on groundwater in India spoke of ways to manage demand side and ways to design and manage aquifers. Dr Dipankar Saha, Former Member (HQ), Central Ground Water Board and Former Member Secretary, Central Ground Water Authority spoke of mega aquifer recharge; Ms Malavika Gopinath, Sustainability Specialist, Corporate EHS, ITC Ltd also shared a corporate perspective on groundwater recharge and aquifer management and how ITC has adopted a watershed management approach across 15 states where it has water conservation interventions.

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