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Towards policy normalisation
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Focus on water quality & demand management

The third in a series of weekly articles on the new National Water Policy

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BS Opinion | water | Water crisis

Mihir Shah 



Mihir Shah

The new National Policy (NWP) argues that limits are now being reached on possibilities of solving India’s problem from the supply side. The policy proposes a shift in focus towards the long-neglected demand-side management of . The most important reform needed here is in irrigation, which takes up 80-90 per cent of India’s water use. And just three crops — rice, wheat and sugarcane — consume 80 per cent of this water. Without a radical change in this pattern of water demand, basic water needs of millions of people cannot be met. Water-intensive crops are grown even in relatively water-short regions mainly because these are the only crops for which farmers are assured a steady market, thanks to government procurement operations for wheat and rice and purchase of sugarcane by sugar mills. Hence, crop diversification without endangering national food security is the single most important step in resolving India’s .

ALSO READ: Nature-based, people-centred solutions for water

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First Published: Tue, October 05 2021. 22:44 IST

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