New Karnataka State Water Policy suggests cut in per capita consumption

The Karnataka Jnana Aayoga Task Group has chalked out the new Karnataka State Water Policy which states that per capita water consumption for domestic use should come down from 135 litres per capita per day (LPCD) to 80-100 LPCD.

While the reduction should be in all water-scarce urban areas, it should also be region specific. The norms should be fairly attributed, said Sharadchandra Lele, task group member and senior fellow at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).

He spoke to media at the side-lines of the day-long workshop on “Citizens’ Agenda for Water Security-A quarterly engagement for collaborative vision and action for water security,” held in the city on Friday. Work on preparing the policy started in January 2018 and now it is ready. It has been accepted by the Knowledge Commission and will be handed over to the government. This is the fourth water policy of Karnataka.

Lele said the report also suggests that urban local bodies should get external river water only after they meet minimum rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, tank rehabilitation and wastewater reuse norms. The report suggests that importing water should not be accepted, till the minimum standards are met. (Rainwater harvesting target is 25 per cent by 2030, wastewater reuse 25 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030 as laid down in Urban wastewater policy). The report also speaks on the need to cap groundwater consumption as it is overexploited.

Manoj Kumar, member secretary, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board said along with chalking plans on conserving water, thrust should be laid on protecting the catchment areas of Cauvery river basin. It is assumed that catchment areas are concentrated in the forest patches, instead of the estates. Soil erosion and changing water colour in rivers and waterfalls are all alarming signs which should be addressed.