Identifying water conservation as the key to India’s development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign on World Water Day, celebrated on March 22 every year.
The movement will take place across India on the theme of ‘catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls so that water reaches every corner of the nation.’
Underscoring that most of rainwater is being wasted in India, PM Modi called for MGNREGA funds to be spent on rainwater conservation till arrival of the monsoon. During the 100-day campaign, the government aims to work towards water governance and water conservation at grass-root level through people’s participation. It is intended to nudge all stakeholders to create rainwater harvesting structures suitable to the climatic conditions and subsoil strata to ensure proper storage of rainwater.
Mr Modi also took the opportunity to announce the implementation of Ken-Betwa Link Project, a water-sharing agreement aimed at benefitting the people in the parched areas of Bundelkhand, signed between the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The interlinking will provide water for irrigating 1.062 million hectares, drinking water to about 6.2 million people and also generate 103 MW of hydropower.
According to a government statement, the project “will pave the way for more interlinking of rivers to ensure that scarcity of water does not become an inhibitor for development in the country. Not only will the Ken-Betwa Project provide irrigation and drinking water, it will also help the local ecology.”
The campaign will be implemented from March 22 to November 30 – the pre-monsoon and monsoon period in the country. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all. The theme for this year’s World Water Day is ”Valuing Water.”
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