While some metropolitan cities like Bengaluru are facing their worst water crisis and states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Delhi are known for their past fights over water allocation, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for the first time ever is preparing for a nationwide “Water Conservation Campaign” that is likely to start by May this year.
Though much effort has been made in the past at sensitising masses over judicious use of water, most of these campaigns were limited to either a ministry or a state. A source who is part of the campaign said, “This is going to be a first-of-its-kind campaign in India. It is different from other water conservation campaigns because it will be more united in its approach. Until now, a particular ministry would carry out individual campaign or a state government would indulge in educating citizens. But this time, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will roll out a campaign to communicate about water conservation.”
The ministry is working to rope in the best agencies that can use creative ideas to make the subject of water conservation “interesting”. Tenders are expected to be finalised by February end, after which the ministry will brief the agencies on their campaign requirements and by May, the campaign will be launched.
The campaign is being envisioned as a stepping stone for India’s larger ambitions in water preservation and conservation in which Israel’s water technology is expected to play a crucial role.
A source within the ministry said, “Israel has some innovative water conversion technology that can be useful to India. But before India is ready to use such technology, irrespective of which country it comes from, our masses need to brush up their basics in water conservation.”
The recent visit of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel last year, had seen developments in water technology exchange agreements, since Israel has been a pioneer in water conservation innovation.
Sources said an Israeli delegation had visited India in December to understand the water economy. Indian bureaucrats, too, visited Israel earlier this year to learn water conservation techniques. However, without revealing much about what kind of techniques India will adopt from Israel, sources said that the budget for the campaign is going to be huge and popular faces will become ambassadors. A dry nation that was mostly dependent on water imports in challenging geopolitical setup, Israel has been continuously working to overcome its water shortage.
“In these ways, Israel is similar to Singapore, which, too, is dependent on water imports and uses technology to convert dirty water into ‘New Water’ which is drinking water extracted from polluted water. India might not require recycling techniques as much as Israel or Singapore, but we need to educate citizens to preserve natural water resources,” a source in the ministry said.