Strategy for implementation of National Water Mission
Kohima, March 4
Expressing concern over the growing problem of water scarcity in the State, especially during lean period, Nagaland Minister for Soil and Water Conservation, Nuklutoshi said that the State does not currently have a water policy to enable to develop and put in place frameworks for coordinated and effective water management practices. The Minister expressed the concern while addressing the inaugural session of a conference on ‘Strategy for implementation of National Water Mission (NWM)’ organised by State Soil and Water Conservation Department in collaboration with North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management (NERIWALM) here today.
He said that organisational responsibility for management is diffuse, and spread across several government departments such as Irrigation & Flood Control, S&WC, Public Health Engineering etc., while the private sector also plays a significant role in distribution of water during the lean period.
“There is no regulatory mechanism to guide the supply and demand side management of water from these sectors,” he said.
Nuklutoshi, however said that the preparation of Nagaland Water Policy has been initiated, facilitated by the S&WC Department in consultation with water related departments and stakeholders.
Maintaining that during the monsoon period from May to September, water is aplenty in Nagaland and with high rainfall entire agriculture activities are carried out during this period, he said the lean season spanning over October to April sees hardly any rain, and as a result the entire state faces water stress. “Farmers across the state have reported that the irrigation channels drawn from many of the perennial springs are being reported to have gone dry,” he said.
The Minister said that with rapid urbanisation and developmental activities in the hilly areas in the last few years coupled with increase in population the demand and need for fresh water resources in all sectors is increasing haphazardly, posing a challenge for the state. Further, he also expressed concern that climate change is likely to exacerbate the vulnerability of the state, as water availability might decrease further.
The predominant sources of water in the State are surface water in rivers, streams, ponds and natural springs and subsurface water occurring as ground water, he said. These are mainly sustained by the heavy rainfall received in the state, which is of the order of 2000-2500 mm – one of the highest amongst all states in India, he said. But, of the total rainfall received about 90% is received during the monsoon period while scanty winter rainfall.
Effective management of water resources in the state poses challenges as well, he said adding that since authority over land and its resources is largely vested with communities, the government has to seek their (landowners) permission to develop the resource. The Minister lamented that so far sharing this resource for larger good has been limited and local conflicts over water complicate the matter.
Suggesting some of the required measures to be taken up to store water received through heavy precipitation in the implementation of NWM in the context of Nagaland, he said departmental personnel and village communities should be trained to document natural water resources across the state. He also stressed on the need to artificially recharge water in and around the spring heads for maintaining perennial water flow while also increasing irrigation potential of the state by storing excess water in structures along the streams.
More study should be instituted to identify and enhance hydro-energy potential of the State, he suggested while also opining that assessment and feasibility be processed for re-utilization of domestic waste-water in lean period in urban households and use for agriculture.
Resource person from NERIWALM, Prof S C Patra delivering the keynote address said emphasized on the need for proper implementation of National Water Mission in order to benefit the farmers and subsequently increase the productivity and enhance their livelihood.
He said that the sister departments involved in water management should come together and suggest guidelines considering the requirement of the State over and above the general guidelines provided under NWM.
The prime objective of NWM is towards preservation, conservation and augmentation of water catchment areas and also creating better awareness on proper usage of water.
The session was chaired by Secretary S&WC T. Nungsang Ao while Joint Director S&WC Temjen Longkumer.