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Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, India's minister of water resources, Jal Shakti, speaks to Gulf News at India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: India is looking for technology transfer from the UAE and other countries present at Expo 2020 Dubai for sustainable water management, India’s minister for water resources said on Wednesday at Expo.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, India's minister of Jal Shakti, the ministry dealing with water resources in an integrated manner, is in Dubai to participate in the Water Week at Expo and showcase India’s vision and commitment for sustainable water management and explore global investment opportunities in the sector.

Speaking to Gulf News in an interview, Shekhawat said Expo offered an ideal platform for India to learn from various countries about the best practices in sustainable water management.

“We are in the process of revision of the water management systems to provide drinking water to each and every household. So it is a critical juncture for all of us and we are trying to engage with all the stakeholders and throughout the world… This Expo is giving all of us an opportunity to learn from the best practices in different countries as far as water is concerned,” he said.

He noted that technology advancements have eliminated problems in water management and surface sanitation in many countries.

Praising Expo for dedicating a week on the theme of water, the minister said the India Pavilion at Expo on Wednesday morning held an event on ‘Water and Sustainable Development’ with participation of stakeholders from various countries.

Non-revenue water management

“A representative of the UAE from Dubai explained how they have reduced non-revenue water (water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customer) from 42 per cent to 4.3 per cent with the help of technologies. This is really inspirational for India... We can adopt that type of technologies and good practices,” the minister pointed out.

He said water wastage during transmission is a big challenge for India because of the ailments in the transmission lines and other reasons.

Though the situation in the UAE and India cannot be compared, he said there was still scope for adopting the technology used in Dubai to be implemented in metro cities in India. He added that India also wishes to learn from unique water management systems in drip irrigation from other countries like Israel as well which were presented during the session at Expo.

Further meetings and signing of agreements regarding the technology transfer would follow, he said.

The minister also sought the support of Indian expats in the UAE in water projects in India where they can participate through investment or donations.

“We are working in different domains of water after the PM (Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi) integrated all the different departments and different divisions and ministries into one to give a holistic solution of management of all aspects related to water and surface sanitisation.”

Jal Jeevan Mission

Shekhawat said the government is currently focusing on its ambitious project to provide functional tap water for each and every rural household across India under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

“We have created a pool of fund for drinking water because we are taking up this project, the world’s largest programme worth $50 billion to provide connection to 190 million households by 2024,” he said, inviting assistance from Non Resident Indians (NRIs) for the project.

The Ministry has set up a registered public charitable trust, Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh (RJK), to serve as a receptacle for charitable contributions or donations and to facilitate contribution for creation of safe drinking water supply in villages. The contribution can also be made for providing tap water in schools, Anganwadi (nursery) centres, tribal residential schools, health-cum-wellness centres, etc.

Foreign contribution towards RJK are exempted from the operation of Foreign contribution regulation Act.

The minister said the government had received massive support from NRIs who donated millions of dollars for the Namami Gange Programme, the national mission for cleaning up sacred river Ganges.

Growing water scarcity is one of the main challenges for sustainable development, especially with the impact of climate change and growing population. With four per cent of world’s renewable water resources, India has over 18 per cent of the world’s population.

Thus, the minister said, water conservation and management assume critical importance in India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world.