ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Governing Water to Foster Equity and Conservation

Need for New Legal Instruments

The water sector in India and vested interests in it have always been averse to change. We have now reached a point where diffi cult decisions must be taken if we are to avoid an increasing number of water-related confl icts. The states must not only adopt legislation based on the central government’s groundwater model law but also make sure to adapt it to their local circumstances. The union government also has a framework legislation that attempts to highlight the importance of water, which all states would do well to replicate.

Water has been a central policy issue for decades. A combination of factors has made water an even more important priority in recent years, something that will not change in the foreseeable future. The first reason for this is that water is a source of life and it is necessary for survival. Water is also central to most human activities, from domestic use and livelihoods to industrial growth. At the same time, protecting water and ensuring its conservation in the long term has become increasingly important over the past few decades. However, while conservation has become a significant agenda item, it is often seen as an “environmental” subject, or one that need not be addressed from within the water sector.

The increasing importance of water in policy terms can be ascribed to various factors. The main problem usually highlighted is increasing water scar­city (Mekonnen and Hoekstra 2016). Decreasing per capita water availability is a concern. This is caused by a variety of factors, including changing rainfall patterns caused by climate change, dro­ught, its increasing use, and population growth. Yet, water scarcity is only one of the problems that should concern policy-makers and guide attempts to rethink water regulation. Indeed, while overall water availability will be a growing concern in the future, people are now often affected by difficulties in accessing the available water. The barriers to access tend to be economic, but are sometimes social, as confirmed by cases of drinking water being denied to certain communities (Sathish 2015).

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Updated On : 3rd Jun, 2022
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