Hiking prices for conservation
A draft policy being prepared by the National Water Board (NWB) recommends a hike in industrial water rates and penalties for inadequate treatment and recycling of water. While preparing the draft, NWB consulted the state governments and the ministry of industry have been consulted on this issue, and incorporated some suggestions from the Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices (BICP).
The draft recommends that water rates reflect the scarcity of the resource and the need for economy in its consumption. A BICP study shows that because of low pricing industries tend to consume more water. To remedy this fault, the draft recommends that the present nominal cess levied by the Central and state pollution control boards be increased. A part of the total amount could be utilised for subsidising water conservation and effluent treatment schemes, the draft says. Overall, it proposes a package of incentives and disincentives based on water prices, cess and tariffs. The draft also says water availability should be an important criteria for allowing the establishment of industries, especially in semi-arid or arid regions.
It recommends that establishment of industrial units consuming more than 10 million cum of water annually should not be allowed without the prior consent of the ministry of water resources and says that groundwater use by industry should be avoided. It recommends that the Central Ground Water Board be the nodal agency for monitoring exploitation of groundwater by industry. It also calls for fixing of upper limits for use of fresh water by industries.