Federal water governance ecosystem

Context- Importance of Centre-States coordination to deal with the emerging challenges of inter-state water governance.

How the two bills on water can attend the longstanding issue of inter-state externalities

  1. The Interstate River Water Disputes Amendment Bill 2019– The bill seeks to improve the inter-state water disputes resolution by setting up a permanent tribunal supported by a deliberative mechanism, the dispute resolution committee.
  2. The Dam Safety Bill, 2019– The bills provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of specified dams, with the help of a comprehensive federal institutional framework comprising committees and authorities for dam safety at national and state levels.
  • It also provides for an institutional mechanism to ensure the safety of such dams.

However, these two bills were passed by Lok Sabha and are pending in Rajya Sabha.

What is the importance of Jal Jeevan Mission JJM?

  • The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
  • The central assistance through JJM is an opportunity to open a dialogue with the States to address federal water governance gap.

Why a coordinated response from the Centre and states is vital?

  1. Systematic federal response– Emerging concerns of long-term national water security and sustainability, the risks of climate change, and the growing environmental challenges, including river pollution needs systematic federal response where the Centre and the states need to work in a partnership mode.
  2. For implementation of current national projects– Centre-States coordination is also crucial for pursuing the national projects. For example Ganga river rejuvenation or inland navigation or inter-basin transfers.
  3. Critical for Jal Jeevan Mission’s success.
  4. To pursue development and sustainability goals

What is the way forward?

  1. Absence of authoritative water data- Data systems related to water in the country are limited in their coverage, robustness and efficiency. The sector suffers from the following key data problems-
  2. Limited coverage,
  3. Unreliable data
  4. Limited co-ordination and sharing.

Therefore, the Centre can work with the states in building a credible institutional architecture for gathering data and producing knowledge about water resources.

  1. Jal Jeevan Mission presents an opportunity to get states on board for a dialogue towards stronger Centre-states coordination and federal water governance ecosystem.
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