Meghalaya turns attention to water conservation at international conclave

BNE News Desk

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Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Friday called for inter-state and international dialogue to discuss water resource issues "as it does not have boundaries."

Sangma made the remark while inaugurating the first International Water Conclave jointly organized by the Jal Shakti Ministry and the state government. "If neighbouring states or countries are not aligned in our efforts and goals, we will not achieve the desired results," Sangma said, stressing the significance of holding the crucial conclave in Shillong.

Stressing the roles of climate councils at the state, regional, and national levels, the Chief Minister said, “The issues concerning climate change are impacting water resources on a large scale. The involvement of different stakeholders to discuss and work collaboratively on climate issues with coordinated response and information sharing will go a long way in addressing concerns”.
The objective of the conclave is to bring different departments of the government and different members of civil society together to address the issues "and not just focus on scheme implementation or completion of targets," Sangma underlined. He also exuded hope that it would bring different departments—like PHE, Soil & Water Conservation, Forest, Agriculture, Fisheries, Mining, and Tourism—together.

Underscoring the importance of Water Policy, the Chief Minister said, “Meghalaya has been very pro-active and is one of the few states to have a State Water Policy, which is a holistic approach towards water from its distribution, storage, water reservoirs, protection of catchment areas, rejuvenation of springs, and management of water.” He further said that the policy has enabled the government to address various water-related challenges and concerns.

Suggesting the use of technology to collect information and data and monitor different aspects related to water, he said, “We will soon have the Data Innovation Center to collect data and information departmentally and then superimpose the information departmentally to create a predictable model that will be useful for different departments for the overall management of water."

The Asian Development Bank is supporting the government in building 600 small multipurpose reservoirs across the state. Additionally, 81 fish sanctuaries have been developed across Meghalaya.

The two-day conclave is being attended by delegates from Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam, as well as stakeholders from different agencies and international institutions. As part of the conclave, a Shillong declaration will be signed by delegates from different parts of the country to share best practices and models for the conservation of water bodies and sustainable management of water resources.

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BNE News Desk