Safe drinking water for all still a challenge: President

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Emphasising the need to ensure safe drinking water for all in India, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said conservation and optimal utilisation of water will remain a “foremost priority” for the world for many years to come.

“Providing safe drinking water to our people is an area where much needs to be done,” the president said at the valedictory function of the ‘India Water Week 2016’ here.

He said several communities in India still lacked basic water infrastructure and spent “considerable time and energy” collecting water instead of progressing to income- generating activities.

“Proper water infrastructure will rejuvenate these populations,” he added.

Mukherjee said locally feasible technologies and marketable innovations should urgently be introduced in such locations.

Involving micro-financing institutions would also help popularise these technologies, the president said.

“We must prioritise resilient eco-systems, modern data management systems and innovations in technology. Our laws should inculcate a respect for the principle that water is a common legacy. We must treasure it, utilise it in a manner that enables us to pass it on – intact, if not enhanced – to our Generation Next,” Mukherjee said.

He appreciated the Centre’s programmes like ‘Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’, ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan’ and ‘Integrated Watershed Management Programme’, saying these would help in providing water to all.

About India Water Week, the president said it was a key initiative for sharing the best practices and exchanging ideas to identify timely solutions to critical water issues.

“It is heartening that there has been a good response to the exhibition, showcasing technologies and solutions for improving efficiencies in water use,” he added.

The president also congratulated Israel for being this year’s partner-country for India Water Week 2016, and commended its government, scientists, technicians and people for developing practical innovations for optimally utilising and saving every drop of water possible.

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