Chandigarh, Jan 9 (IANS) In an endeavour to manage and regulate the water resources efficaciously, besides ensuring its judicious, equitable and sustainable utilisation, the Punjab Cabinet on Thursday paved the way for setting up a Water Regulation and Development Authority by approving enactment of the Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Ordinance, 2019.
The ordinance, which was approved by the Council of Ministers earlier at its meeting on December 4, 2019, is now all set for legislation as the Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Bill of 2020.
The Bill proposes to set up a Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority, consisting a chairman and two other members to be appointed by the government.
The authority will be responsible for management and conversion of water resources of the state in a judicious, equitable and sustainable manner, and will be empowered to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for this purpose.
The authority will also be empowered to issue directions and guidelines for the conservation and management of the water resources, besides issuing tariff orders specifying the charges to be imposed by entities supplying water for drinking domestic, commercial or industrial use.
The bill also proposes the constitution of an advisory committee on water resources, to be notified by the government.
It will consist of experts and ex-officio members from various government departments, to advise the authority. The authority may also engage experts on its own.A
The move is prompted by the fact that due to over exploitation of groundwater for agriculture and other requirements, the water table is declining very rapidly.A
Moreover, due to pollution caused by industrialisation and urbanisation, there is significant deterioration in the quality of water. All this has threatened access to water for livelihoods and to safe drinking water as well.