The visit of PM Narendra Modi to Israel is symbolic as he has been the first Indian PM to visit Israel. Though many strategic interests has been discussed between the two nations in military, defense, agriculture, cyber security, intelligence sharing, terrorism etc., but one of the aspects to be focused upon is water management. With about 4 per cent of the water resources of the world, India should have been a water-adequate nation. However, in 2011 India turned into a water-stressed nation, according to experts due to rainfall wastage, pollution, industrial waste, poor sanitation, depleting groundwater etc.
India is water stressed and so is Israel. However, Israel being an arid nation, exports water to other countries including Europe due to its excellent water management techniques. India can learn from Israel water management techniques in three distinct areas, i.e., drip irrigation, recycling waste water and desalination of water. Moreover India’s water week which is scheduled to be on April 4th and Israel is a partner country to India there.
Earlier too prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had suggested that water conservation and other related areas are the new frontier of cooperation between the two countries during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the country in October and also during foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit earlier this year.
India has been focusing on ‘Har Khet to Paani’, ‘more crop per drop’, Pradhan Mantru Krishi Sinchayee Yojna. Though India is not alien to drip irritation and sprinklers yet it can get expert help from Israel in this issue. Hence India has tied up its Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. at Jalgaon, Maharashtra, with an Israel Co. to learn the drip irrigation techniques. Hence the inefficient use of water needs to be done away with to deal with it productively.
- Waste Water recycling and cleaning of polluted water:
Cleaning of waste water and recycling it is environmental friendly. Maximum of water in Israel comes from recycled and brackish water, thus saving potable water for domestic use. India hence can learn from Israel. Recently, the Delhi Government has roped in the Israeli firm, Ayala Water and Ecology Limited, to clean up an eight km stretch of the Yamuna. Depending upon the success of this venture, the country can scale up the role of Israeli firms in cleaning up other rivers. Surat and Nagpur too have started waste water recycling. Naya Raipur, world’s first integrated city is also being equipped with the same technology.
Jamnagar Salination Plant, Gujarat and Nemmali Salination Plant, Chennai have adopted desalination techniques from Israel. These are joint Indo-Israeli initiatives in desalinating sea waters. Desalination techniques however involve huge capital cost and require resources for this. But who will bear this cost, either the beneficiaries or the government has not been sorted out. Desalination is in nascent stage in India and a public policy issue
- Water price reforms:
India has about nine million hectares under micro-irrigation. However it is small compared to the overall need of micro-irrigation. India can scale this up several times. Israel can offer lessons to India in this respect. Any scaling up of technologies needs the right policy environment. As per Israel’s water law, all water in the country is common property resource. The government does accounting for every drop of water, ensuring good water governance.
An integrated approach by involving all stakeholders like government, business, beneficiaries etc should be taken into account to deal with water management. This as result will not only help both India and Israel but also other countries which are water scarce like Africa etc.
Author: Ipsita Mishra
You can reach author at: firstname.lastname@example.org
She has completed B.A.LL.B (IPR Hons.) from National Law University Odisha, Cuttack. Currently, Ipsita is preparing for UPSC. She is also a content writer with TA.