The Indian government plans to create a bureau of water efficiency by the end of the year, a senior official said this week. The bureau will help major water users conserve and recycle water.
It will be modeled on the Bureau of Energy Efficiency established by the federal Power Ministry.
It will oversee labeling and certification for urban local bodies and industries that manufacture household water fixtures and appliances, according to M. Satyanarayana, an adviser to the National Water Mission in the Ministry of Water Resources.
Satyanarayana was speaking at an Ocober 9 conference on “Promoting water use efficiency across urban sectors to address climate change,” organized jointly by Confederation of Indian Industry-Triveni Water Institute and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The water efficiency bureau would include representatives from several federal ministries, as well as water experts and representatives from industry and civil society. It is part of the Indian government's National Water Mission, which aims to increase water efficiency in the country by 20 percent.
At the conference, former Federal Minister of Power, Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Suresh Prabhu called for improving efficiency at both the utility and consumer levels. Most of India’s public water utilities have high rates of leakage and require huge amounts of power to pump water through their supply infrastructure, he said.
The effects of climate change will bring serious challenges for utilities in urban centers, whose water supply is generally brought in from rural areas, Prabhu added. As water availability in rural areas drops, export of water to urban areas will become difficult.
"Since water can't be created, it will need to be managed. The management of water resources must be done in a way that limited quantities cater to unlimited demand, and the only way this can be done is to bring in water use efficiency," he said.
He called for water audits in urban areas to address leaks. He also called for increasing the use of treated water wherever possible to help address growing conflicts over the resource.
Experts at the conference also pushed for creation of a rating system for appliances based on their water consumption.
This story is brought to readers free in association with Singapore International Water Week.