Urban Development Minister Shri Kamal Nath has said that India and Israel should have more frequent interactions to share technical knowledge especially in the field of water resource management. He was addressing the first Indo-Israel Water Seminar, organised jointly by the Ministry of Urban Development and Embassy of Israel in New Delhi on Wednesday. The minister mentioned that the number of urban areas in India has gone up by about 54% during last ten years. The Census data also shows that, in absolute percentage terms, more migration is taking place to smaller towns that already have high deficit of basic urban infrastructure. There are problems in water supply in urban areas with regard to quantity, quality, reliability, availability of water resources coupled with the dismal waste water collection and treatment infrastructure which causes pollution of the water resources.
Referring to the UD Ministry’s high-powered committee’s estimates on funding requirement for urban infrastructure for the period 2012-2031, he mentioned that the total capital requirements would be around Rs.30.98 lakh crore out of which the water & sanitation sector will need Rs.8.03 lakh ( all cost estimates at 2009-10 prices) crore. Similarly, the same figures for operations & maintenance during the period would be Rs. 19.94 lakh crore for the entire urban sector and about Rs. 10.92 lakh crore for water & sanitation sector which is about 55 percent. Looking at these huge numbers and the projected population growth to about 500 to 600 million in urban areas, in the next one or two decades, Mr. Nath stated that huge fund requirement calls for higher proportion of PPP Projects, in addition to Government investment.The Minister expressed hope that exchanges such as the water seminar between India and Israel will lead to the development of projects in PPP mode.
Referring to the technological developments in Israel in the water sector, the Minister stated that Israel has achieved very high efficiency of water use in agricultural sector, demonstrated excellent reuse techniques and overall planning & development of water supply infrastructure. The seminar and future interactions would enable India and Israel to exchange ideas and technologies in the water sector.
Mr. Alon Ushpiz, Ambassador of Israel to India speaking on the occasion mentioned the critical nature of water as it concerns not only life support requirement but an important economic need. He mentioned that Israel has more than 64 years of experience in various aspects of water management as it faced the many challenges of population and urbanization in one of the most arid regions of the world. He expressed hope that India and Israel will have constant exchange in this crucial sector.
Following the inaugural session, the technical sessions were held in which experts from Mekorot, Israel made presentations on topics followed by discussions and Q & A session with the sector experts participating in the seminar.
10 May 2012