National Water Seminar on Challenges of Providing Potable Water to the Islands

January 20, 2009 Port Blair

The Managing Director, A&N Islands Forest & Plantation Development Corporation Ltd. Dr. Alok Saxena, the chief guest in his address said that water is the essence of life and wherever there is more forest, there is more water. Though these islands have unpolluted water resources, still water borne diseases are prevalent; while inaugurating the National Water Seminar on the theme ‘challenges of providing potable water to the islands' Dr Saxena called upon the stakeholders, to think serious about the initiatives in bringing about an affective management of safe drinking water.
He hoped that the seminar will come out with positive results and recommendations for better management of safe drinking water in these islands.
Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA) in collaboration with the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) organized National Water Seminar in the conference hall of CARI on January 29th and 30th 2009. The seminar was designed to bring together government, NGOs and people from the grass roots level to examine the complexities of providing potable water in an island environment with three focuses viz., water resource development, water quality and community managed water system

Dr. R. C. Srivastav Director, CARI in his presidential address underlined the need for transfer of technological methods in finding suitable location for developing ground water resources such as wells etc. to the stakeholders and to entrust the management of the e xisting resources to them as also to ensure quality and quantity as well as proper management. This will change the mindset of the stakeholders and also lead to self dependent, self sufficing and safe drinking water, he said.
The Chief Secretary, Shri Vivek Rae who graced the function as the chief guest on the valedictory day said that analyzing the problems prevailing in these islands is very important while preparing recommendations for solving the drinking water problems. There is need to address the drinking water problem at the micro, village and panchayat level wherein the PRIs have a greater role to play in mitigating the drinking water problem as enough grants have been provided to them to take up rural water supply and sanitation schemes.
He also said that there is need for fixing responsibility and accountability of those engaged in the water management starting from the source till its distribution to the general public. Bottom level approach is needed to tackle the potable water problem and address it completely. The Chief Secretary also released a video documentary brought out by the EHA on A&N water crisis and its solution. The two days seminar came out with notable recommendation like Promotion of appropriate decentralized alternative system to move away from single source dependency and integrated watershed projects, encouraging public-private-partnership, enpoints and availability of de-salination plants to meet the extreme event of non- availability of watersuring that water quality meets the BIS standards at delivery The seminar was attended 80 participants which include the stakeholder's, eminent personality and experts in water resource development from different parts of the country