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| Last Updated:19/09/2020

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Industries getting thirstier, paying up more water cess

 NEW DELHI: Industries' thirst for water is increasing and so is the amount being paid by them as water cess.

Recently released figures from the environment ministry show that the total amount, collected as water cess from industries in different states, has increased by over Rs 40 crore in the past three years.

Uttar Pradesh, united Andhra Pradesh (AP+Telangana), Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab are among the top five states which have continuously been contributing to the central kitty which is being used to take pollution abatement measures in the country.

Under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Acts, 1977, the states' pollution boards are required to collect water cess which is levied on the quantity of water consumed by the industries and local authorities (municipal bodies).

Presently, it is levied on all industries except those which consume less than 10 kilolitres of water per day. This exemption is, however, not meant for industries generating hazardous waste.

Figures show that all the states and Union Territories collectively collected Rs 220.18 crore as water cess during 2011-12 which was subsequently increased to Rs 226.19 crore the next financial year and to Rs 261.73 crore in 2013-14.

Though the amount collected as water cess is not big, the increasing trend is an indication of how the use of water by industries is gradually increasing over the years. With government focusing on its 'Make in India' goal, the share of water usage by industries or manufacturing sector is further bound to increase. It will then, make the task of water conservation much more important, taking in view the declining per capita availability of water in the country over the years.

At present, industrial sector uses around 6% of the total available water while 70% of the water goes to agriculture sector for irrigation. As per a survey, conducted by the FICCI in 2011, the water demand for the industrial sector will account for 8.5% of the total available water in 2025 and for 10.1% in 2050.

Many parts of the country have, already, started facing the pinch of scarcity. India has 18% of the world's population but it has only 4% of water resources of the world, making it far more urgent for the country to take effective measures to conserve water.

The annual per capita water availability has decreased from 6,042 cubic metre in the year 1947 to 1,545 cubic metre in 2011.

According to estimates of the water resources ministry, the annual per capita availability of water will further reduce to 1,340 cubic metre by 2025 and to 1,140 cubic metre by the year 2050.

It is estimated that India's annual requirement of water by the year 2050 would be 1,180 billion cubic metre (BCM) as against the current average annual potential of 1,123 BCM 'utilizable' quantity of water (both surface and ground water).