Published on: August 15, 2022
Karnataka Water Policy 2022
With agriculture accounting for about 84% of water consumption and the estimated water demand set to reach 1,859 tmcft by 2025, the State Cabinet approved the Karnataka Water Policy 2022 for effective management of water resources.
Need for the policy:
- 56 per cent of land in the state is irrigated by groundwater. Karnataka is one of the most water-stressed states in the country with 61 per cent area drought prone.
- Due to economic growth and increasing demands in the industrial and urban water supply sectors in Karnataka, there is a need to focus on improving water use efficiency, productivity, water quality and water reuse.
The objective of Jal Niti
- to facilitate safe and optimal use of water resources of the state for drinking water, health, food, energy, environmental and other social purposes.
Highlights of the policy:
- The policy says that “water management is not a techno-managerial process” and it has multiple uses and multiple stakeholders. The State adopted a water policy in 2002 but due to changed scenarios of water availability and demand, it felt the need for a new policy.
- The new policy will shift the focus from increasing water supply infrastructure to managing water within the available budget.
- The policy was revised to address the new challenges and make it more comprehensively integrated resource-management oriented to address the growing inter-sectoral demands and to ensure water, food, and economic security of the State.
- The policy envisages the constitution of an inter-departmental State water resources authority under the chairmanship of the Minister for Water Resources and forming of a high-level water policy review and monitoring committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary.
- As per the policy flood risks are to be controlled by real-time monitoring and forecasting technologies with provision of flood cushion during heavy rainfall and with effective communication between dam and managers and flood plain administration.
- The cabinet also approved various projects worth over Rs 1,000 crore across the state to ensure tap water to every household under the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), the new policy, in line with the National Water Policy, stresses on judicious use of available water.
- Promote participation in groundwater management under Atal Bhujal scheme, treat waste water and reuse it more in the state.
Issues addressed by the policy
- Collecting surface water from rivers and other sources, and also evolving a mechanism to collect excess water during floods for future use.
- Issues of overexploitation of groundwater, geogenic pollutants and biological contamination of water.
- “Every individual needs 1,608 cubic metre of water per year and the policy will look at meeting those requirements
- The policy recommends that groundwater extraction, other than for domestic use, be restricted for commercial use depending on the degree and zone of exploitation.
- Also, charging tariffs by metering the use of groundwater by industries and commercial establishments is to be considered.
- Industries will be supported to conserve water, increase water recycling and reduce the discharge of polluted water into the environment, the policy says. Also, incentives will be provided to farmers to take up water-economic crops.
- Similarly, a “user charge system” will be implemented effectively through a proper set of incentives and penalties that are affordable for all sections of society, the policy says.
- The Water Policy 2022 replaces one that was formulated in 2002. The erstwhile Karnataka Knowledge Commission constituted a task group to make recommendations for a new policy.
- Improving water use efficiency and water productivity, management of irrigation projects, irrigation modernization and canal mechanization, micro irrigation (agriculture / horticulture / mass irrigation projects), Karnataka Water Resources Information System (KWRIS), river valley planning and management, lake filling, groundwater Treatment of urban waste water for recharge, agriculture etc.
- Encouraging farmers to adopt low water consumption crops, improvement of water sources, catchment areas.
- Encouraging participation of farmers/users in water management can be a strengthening or new element in water policy.