Kerala on Monday became the first state to adopt a water budget in a bid to come up with a solution to water scarcity in certain regions there. The first phase of the project would cover 94 gram panchayats and 15 block panchayats.
The Public Water Budget was released by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, along with the launch of the third phase of the Ini Njan Ozhukatte (Let me flow now) project, for the rehabilitation of irrigation networks in the Western Ghats. The idea of a water budget was first mooted by the state in 2019. The current Budget was prepared based on the availability and consumption of water in the state.
The budget gives data about the availability of water at a particular place and its consumption based on the population in the region. The move is intended to create awareness among people regarding the proper use of water, avoiding its wastage. The budget was prepared by the Centre for Water Resource Development Management and the state water department.
“Usage of water has to be regulated in accordance with its availability in an area. That is where the water budget comes in. It would lead to awareness among the public against unnecessary wastage of water and through that we can achieve water conservation. It is the first-of-its-kind project in the country and will be an example for other states to emulate,” Vijayan said.
According to government estimates, as part of the Ini Njan Ozhukatte project, the state has recovered hundreds of water bodies and will be using satellite data to assess the status of water bodies in 230 gram panchayats in its third phase. During the first and second phases, around 7,290 km of irrigation networks had been rejuvenated. Though the state has around 44 rivers and several other water bodies, some parts face severe water shortage during the summer season.