New Delhi, Nov 23: The European Union (EU) can help India improve water quality of Ganga and tackle water scarcity and river ecology issues in the country, Union Minister Sanwar Lal Jat said today, as the Union expressed its interest in cooperating in the cleaning of the revered river.
"Experience of EU members can help India in improving water quality of Ganga and other major rivers. Another important area of cooperation between India and European countries is water scarcity and ecological aspect of water management.
Sharing and learning of experience from EU members will help us address water scarcity and ecological aspect," Jat, the Minister of State for Water Resources, told the inaugural session of first Indo-European Water Forum here.
He stressed that it is imperative to keep in mind India's growing populace and size of land being cultivated while looking for a solution to the problem. Jat noted that India's approach to water resources development since independence was mostly "project-centric" and "sources-based" without much emphasis on ecological and pollution aspects.
"This has resulted in water over-use, water pollution and unhealthy competition amongst multiple sectors. Therefore, proper allocation management of demand and efficient measures for use are urgently needed," he said.
On a desk study report compiled by an EU expert comparing draft Indian water legislation and European Water Framework Directive, Jat said, "European countries are smaller compared to India and they, I think, have to manage water for smaller populace. These aspects need to be thought."
The inaugural session was attended by EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski, Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shashi Shekhar, European Commission Director-General (environment) Daniel Calleja Crespo, National Water Mission MD Nikhilesh Jha and other senior officials and delegates from the countries concerned.