New Delhi: Maltreatment of potable water will be an offence in India, with infringements punishable with up to five years in jail or up to Rs 1 lakh fine, in accordance with a new-fangled dictate by the Centre. The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti has put out a notification under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 in this respect. “No person shall waste or misuse potable water resources tapped from underground,” said the directive emanated on October 8 under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 acting on an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
“Failure to comply with this notification, in each such incident of failure or contravention, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extent do five years or with fine which may extend to Rs 1 lakh or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine, which may extend to Rs 5,000 for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such offence, under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,” said Akash Vashishtha.
The local bodies, dealing with water supply, will distinctively go into detail on what may be tantamount to ‘wastage’ or ‘misuse’ — both in terms of domestic and commercial use — and put into effect it through appropriate monitoring. Overflowing overhead tanks, excessive use in flushing in toilets, wastage of water in bathing/hand-wash/kitchen use and leakage/seepage during transmission/distribution of water from up to the consumer end were flagged as some of the principal sources of water wastage by the ministry.
The Centre has also jot down to all states to evolve and employ contrivances with coercive actions, including penalty, for frittering away groundwater. The NGT had given instructions to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry that supervisory bodies should make certain that wastage of water is not profitable and the cost of such wastage is recovered.