Draft guidelines on water quality released

Policy matters this week
The Krishna river, Wai, Maharashtra (Source: IWP Flickr Photo) The Krishna river, Wai, Maharashtra (Source: IWP Flickr Photo)

Government comes up with new standards on water quality

The Environment Ministry has issued a draft for new standards on water quality, with an aim to make water bodies fit for bathing. The draft which presents 14 points to determine the quality of a river or a water body is open for public view. While the Government is tightening fresh water quality norms, it is also planning to dilute the pollution norms for deep sea discharge. The Ministry is considering the dilution of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) norm from 250 mgl to 500 mgl for industrial effluents discharged in deep seas. 

Paris pact on water and climate change adaptation announced during COP21

The Paris pact on water and climate change adaptation has been announced during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC to make water systems more resilient to climate impacts. India is also a part of the pact and has made a financial commitment to build climate resilience through improved groundwater management. The Pact involves a wide geographic coalition of national and cross-border river basin organisations, governments, funding agencies, local governments, companies and civil society.

Railway and Water Ministry sign MoU on non-potable use of water

The Ministries of Railways and Water have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the use of non-potable treated water released from sewage/effluent treatment plants located in the Ganga and Yamuna River zones for various non-potable Railway purposes. Based on the MoU, the latter intends to lay a network of sewage/effluent treatment plants on both sides of both the rivers while the former will pay for the water it will use.

Plan to decentralise EIA of sand and gravel mining draws criticism

The Environment Ministry has proposed to conduct Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) at the district level for sand and gravel mining for areas up to 5 hectares. The proposal has attracted criticism as it will give more leverage to the mining lobby. Also, it has been proposed that no environmentalists or activists or environmental scientists will be appointed to the District Level Expert Appraisal Committee making it incompetent to carry out EIA.

Maharashtra Government orders local bodies to deposit Rs 100 crore funds for clean-up of Ulhas, Waldhuni rivers

The Maharashtra Government has ordered four local self-government bodies to deposit Rs 100 crore in a special escrow account for the restoration of the two polluted rivers Ulhas and Waldhuni. In July this year, the National Green Tribunal had given the same order to Government agencies and local bodies; however, the latter obtained a stay on the order. The State Government has made it clear that the local bodies should not approach the Government for grants and that they should deposit the money from their own funds.

This is a roundup of important policy matters from December 1 - 7, 2015. Also read last week's news roundup.


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