Sheikh Khaild Jehangir, Secretary General, ICPS, addressed Y20 consultation meet on climate change under India’s G20 presidency in Srinagar on Thursday, 11 May 2023 at University of Kashmir. He said that water management is a burning issue and it needs to be addressed. This was widely reported in the media in J&K:

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Excerpts from his address: 

“If you go around the city of Srinagar you feel we are blessed with water. The per capita water availability is highest in India and in the region. Our rivers are fed by the Himalayan glaciers and experts say we are not likely to have any problem till 2060. However, we know that the glaciers are receding due to climate change conditions. Water is not an infinite resource it is likely to deplete drying up our water channels.

Even when water is available, we do not have efficient water management plans. Moreover, there is uneven distribution of water across the state. As population is growing there is a pressure of supply of potable water. There is a case for judicious, equitable and sustainable management, allocation and utilization of water and fixing the rates for use of water.

We have a responsibility towards future generations. We are taking things for granted. We pollute the water available to us without thinking how precious it is. We dump wastes into the water which is about 10,000 metric tonnes per day in peak tourist season in Dal lake alone. We release 18 tonnes of phosphorus and 25 tonnes of nitrogen nutrients from 15 drains into the lake. There is also the issue of flood management.

The use of water, control and management of construction works with respect to storage, conservation, irrigation, supply, flood control and prevention, improvement in the flow of water, improvement in the quality of water for human use, are issues which are being looked into.

These issues are being addressed to certain extent but the cumulative impact of measures taken by government is not yielding the desired result, primarily because there is less public awareness about the issue. It is imperative that such issues are discussed in civil society organsiations which would complement the steps taken by government in a formal way.

The most important fact is that water resources are getting depleted by the day and therefore, we should all work towards judicious use and conservation, sub-soil water recharge as well as adoption of eco-friendly lifestyle for optimal use of this resource.”