Sunday, 5 December, 2021

Govt unveils first water resources policy


By Laxman Kafle
Kathmandu, Dec. 18: The government has formulated a water resources policy for the first time.Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun unveiled the ‘National Water Resources Policy-2077’ at a function organised at the Ministry on Thursday. The Council of Ministers had approved the policy on June 17, 2020.Although there were different policies relating to water supply, irrigation, electricity and management of water-induced disaster, there was no integrated policy.
The new policy has seven objectives and 11 strategies. The long-term vision of the policy is to achieve multidimensional, equitable and sustainable development of water resource, economic prosperity and social transformation through optimum use of water resources.
Unveiling the policy, Minister Pun said that the policy would be a milestone to enrich the country with the maximum and sustainable exploitation of water resources while addressing the current issues in water resource management and minimising future problems.
“I am confident that this policy will be a guide for effective coordination and cooperation among the agencies working in the sector of water resources and safeguarding them for future generations,” he said.
Similarly, research, multi-purpose use, development, management, regulation and protection of water resources have been given high priority in the policy.
The policy aims to institutionalise the provision of multi-purpose use of water for easy supply, multidimensional and equitable development of land resources and contribution to national productivity through utilisation, conservation, development, management and regulation of water resources sector based on study, research, facts and evidences.
The aim is to make arrangements for the conservation, development and utilisation of water resources in coordination with the federal, provincial and local levels.
Other objectives of the policy are to develop water resources sector in a way that is easy, accessible and equitable in order to meet the needs of the citizens.
Similarly, the policy has paved the way for the establishment of bodies at the state and local level for the use, development, management and protection of water resources as per the need.
The policy has emphasised on the need to conserve water resources while executing development projects. The most important and sensitive areas of water resources will be declared as water resource protected areas.
It envisions cooperation with neighbouring countries to get an access to the sea through inland water transport. Water transport will also be included as a component of the multi-purpose projects identified in major rivers.
Similarly, water from one place can be taken to another place for use as per the need. The policy aims to prepare and update data and statistics on the availability, results, quality, existing use, future needs and supply status of water resources in each river basin.

No dispute between three tiers of governments: Minister Pun
"The water resources policy has adopted the principle of not only sustainable use and conservation of water in an integrated manner according to its availability, but also safe transfer of water to future generations," said Minister Pun.
According to him, the policy has closed the way for possible disputes in the distribution of water resources between the federal, provincial, inter-province and local levels.
Secretary of the Water and Energy Commission Sagar Kumar Rai said that the issue of using water without harming the environmental, social and cultural balance was addressed by the policy.