Restoration of water bodies utmost importance: Prof Soz
New Delhi, Aug 23 (UNI) Union Minister for Water Resource Prof. Saifuddin Soz said the Centre's pilot scheme to restore and rehabilitate water bodies is a step in the direction of facilitating rural people to rediscover the past and revive the traditional wisdom that sustained village communities for ages.
Addressng the Consultative Committee Meeting of the Ministry of Water Resource on the ''Restoration of Water Bodies'' here yesterday, Prof Soz said water was the center piece of the economy, history and social practice of a self-sufficient village community informed by traditional practices to conserve water.
One such practice is the use of tanks, ponds and other storages largely characterized as water bodies for purposes of irrigation.
This is a wisdom of the past which is in dire need of being revisited and reinvented with the cooperation and participation of the people, he said adding there has been a revival of interest in the subject in recent years among NGOs, civil society.
He said India being a predominantly agricultural country naturally depends on water for increasing agricultural production and improving livelihoods of people, Prof Soz said seasonal nature of the Indian monsoon necessitated the need for creating storage facilities to hold the rain water and utilize it later. With commendable engineering, managerial and social skills an extensive system of rain water harvesting structure comprising of tanks and ponds had been built and maintained by people for centuries. Most of these multi-use structures provided source for sustenance and livelihood to the rural communities, he added.
As per the third Minor Irrigation Census 2001, there are 5.56 lakh tanks and storage structures in India creating 6.27 million hectare of irrigation potential.
Out of these tanks, 4.71 lakh tanks is in use and remaining 0.85 lakh tanks are not in use due to one reason or the other.
These water bodies have been part and parcel of minor irrigation in the country but, most of these schemes generally suffer from problem of loss of storage due to silting of tanks, poor maintenance, encroachment etc, a release here said.
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