Shillong, March 12 (IANS): The Meghalaya government proposed framing a water policy to tackle the depleting groundwater table in the State.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who termed the matter as a "serious concern", told the Assembly on Friday that a comprehensive water policy would be framed to conserve this important natural resource.
"Depletion of groundwater table is a serious concern and it needs to be addressed seriously for sustainability of our water resources," he said.
Noting that Meghalaya holds the record of receiving the heaviest rainfall in the world (Sohra), he said several places in the State are still facing acute water shortages. In fact, Sohra or Cherrapunjee has the dubious distinction of being dubbed the "wettest desert on earth" due to acute drinking water shortages in the winters as water harvesting methods are least practised there.
United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said it was a matter of serious concern that the State does not have a policy to deal with the water crisis.
Urging the government to formulate a water policy without delay, Basaiawmoit, whose party is part of the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government, said that there are already many water bodies under serious threats due to lack of proper management, unscientific mining sand and stone quarrying, felling of trees, dumping of waste and other reasons.
Acknowledging the serious threats to water bodies, Sangma said the State has created a separate water resource department to ensure drinking water security, agriculture production, food security, ecological balance and overall sustainable development.
The government is also in the process of promoting a Water Resources Development Agency, he added.