Rising demand could force people to pay more for water, says Bansal

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New Delhi, Feb 17 (ANI): Union Water Resource Minister P K Bansal on Wednesday said that country's increasing population and subsequent rising demand for water could one day force people to pay heavily for the precious resource in future.

Addressing the Water 2010 conference here Bansal said Indians could one day be punished for being the biggest wasters of water.

"Water needs to be priced adequately, maybe we work out the quantity that is the bare minimum quantity of water required for an individual, not to waste but to use judiciously," Bansal said.

"What is the minimum requirement of water, maybe you price it at a lower rate, maybe you even give it free in certain cases but above that, in a grading level, water has to be priced. That is the solution to dealing with the difficult situation that might crop up about the availability of water," he added.

In his address Bansal said that during the 1950s, country's water supply stood at 5,300 cubic metres per capita.

Since then the figure has dropped to 1,700 cubic metres and could fall below 1500 cubic metres by the year 2050, warned Bansal.

The world's population, currently estimated at 6.6 billion, is growing by about 80 million people each year and demand for fresh water is increasing by 64 million cubic metres a year, according to a report published in 2009 by the United Nations.

Agriculture is the greatest consumer of water, accounting for 70 percent of all water consumption, compared with 20 percent for industry and 10 percent for domestic use. (ANI)

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