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Inputs for Water Mission of National Action Plan on Climate Change - Advice; Examples

From Himanshu Thakkar, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), New Delhi
Posted 29 December 2008

I work with South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, Delhi, an NGO conducting independent research on these issues.

Climate change is a reality and we in India will face its impact soon, with the weaker sections bearing the brunt. To outline India’s strategy to tackle climate change, the Prime Minister released the National Action Plan on Climate change (NAPCC) (please visit http://pmindia.nic.in/Pg01-52.pdf, PDF, Size: 18.1 MB to download the file). The Plan details eight Missions, one of which is the National Water Mission (NWM).

The nodal ministry for NWM is reportedly the Union Ministry for Water Resources. However, only a few initiatives are mentioned in the text relating to the Mission. On the policy front, it mentions the National Water Policy will be revisited in consultation with states to include basin level management strategies. It advocates “special efforts to increase storage capacity”, which includes underground storage, but these need to be spelt out clearly and reflect a new approach, especially with regard to mega projects.

We feel the Mission has to take a proactive and radical look at policy, development and management options and approaches. It should reflect both successes and failures from 60 years of water resources management in India. The Mission has to take a cross-sector approach, for example, by mentioning linkages with the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture or the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem.

So far, the drafting of the Plan has not been an open, consultative process, and a group of civil society organisations also stated this in a letter to the PM Click here. The consultations must include civil society and people at the grassroots, and the document must be made available in local languages. It is equally essential the comments from the public find place in the final Plan for a meaningful.

As this process has not been followed so far, we feel there is a complete lack of public inputs to the preparatory process of NAPCC and NWM. Given their magnitude, the preparatory process needs to be more equitable, sustainable and democratic. For this, we request members of the Water Community to provide inputs on the following:

  • What specific initiatives should be included in the NWM, considering the past water-related missions and the varying agro-ecological situations across India?
  • What are the options and priorities to augment existing water infrastructure to reduce vulnerability to climate change?
  • What should be a participatory process for formulation of NWM and NAPCC? Please also suggest which institutions should be part of the process.

Your inputs will help determine the actions that civil society and the government can take up in the context of water and climate change. We will also use the information in the publication, Dams Rivers and People, with due attribution.

Please see attachment below for the responses

Download these documents : Size
cr-se-wes-29120801.pdf142.8 KB

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