Punjab has been declared as the overall best state in the country by India Today news magazine for the third conjunctive year. While this is positive new, critics note there is another side of the picture that suggests destruction is fast engulfing this land of “five waters”
“It is a Water-Chaos in the Punjab,” according to Dr Gursharan Singh Kainth, Director of Amritsar based Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies.
Kainth was speaking as a panelist at a workshop on Water Governance and Water Diplomacy organized by South Asian University New Delhi in collaboration with World Wide Funds for Nature (WWF India) and CITP New Delhi at Chandigarh on February 27 and 28, 2017 to highlight critical water governance issues in the Majha region of the Punjab state.
There is a need for new crop management policies, added Dr Kainth. There should be a policy for both crop planning and management at micro level for each agro-climatic zone. According to Dr Kainth, this should be done keeping in mind the availability of water in the hydrological basins. Also the marketing strategy for produce of each crop should be planned so that farmers are assured of maximum returns from the produce – seeds should also be made available for the planned crops, again keeping in view the overall availability of water.
Many actions would be required to be taken both within and among the basins states to avert the crisis. Supply and demand management aspects have to be analyzed for an effective strategy and to provide a set of concrete solutions. These include adoption of techniques for augmenting water availability such as water conservation and pollution prevention, improving water use efficiency recycling and revise of drainage water. Adopting more intensive water saving technologies, changing crop patterns etc would reduce the demand on water.
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