The International Water Conclave, organised by the Department of Water Resources, was inaugurated on Friday with Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma stressing on the use of technology, data analytics and predictive models to be able to create a better overall management of water.
“I think it’s very key for us to be able to really use the data that we get to be able to create predictable models, which will help us save a lot of time in the future. I would like to see a conclave discuss the use of technology. We are working very closely with NESAC (North Eastern Space Applications Centre), which is the space agency here. And they are monitoring our different springs, reservoirs, forest cover, and agricultural activities, mining activities,” the CM said.
Sangma also said that the government will be coming up with something called the Data Innovation Centre in Meghalaya that will collect this data and information departmentally, superimpose them on different departmental information and be able to create a predictability model.
He said that when it comes to environment and water related issues, water does not have boundaries and it is important that different state governments and countries talk to each other.
“We were one of the few states that came out with a water policy. And this water policy actually is a holistic approach to everything from drinking water to the reservoirs to catchment protection to the spring rejuvenation to overall proper management of water and so on and so forth,” Sangma said. “And this particular water policy is in fact what is driving and guiding us to address many issues when it comes to water related issues. We have 6,800-plus villages in our state and today we have a water committee in every village and therefore whenever the water issues are coming up, we ensure that these committees take up this issue, work with the state government, work with the district and the block officials, work with the departments and then come up with a holistic approach so that it’s sustainable also in nature, at the grassroot level.”
Speaking about the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, the Chief Minister said that when one looks at the overall data, which is the overall increase in the number of water connections, Meghalaya is the second highest in the country.
He said that Meghalaya started off with less than 1 percent, the state was at 0.75 per cent coverage in 2019.
“Today, we are over 70 per cent, almost touching 75 per cent. And we expect that we should be able to cross 90 per cent plus, when it comes to Jal Jeevan and functional tap connections at the household level by 90 per cent by the end of this financial year.”
Debashree Mukherjee, Secretary in the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, said, “Meghalaya has done solid work. This is the first state in the North East that has enacted its own water policy. I would urge that we consider looking also at regulatory structures. An integrated regulator will be really a good idea. In the participation of communities, there is an enormous amount to learn from what Meghalaya has done.”