To regulate groundwater and encourage users to conserve water through water conservation schemes, the Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority (PWRDA) will fund public water conservation projects to be implemented by state government departments.
As per the “Punjab Groundwater Extraction and Conservation Directions, 2023”, which have come into effect from 1 February, users may opt to implement a water conservation scheme with the approval of the Authority, either within the unit or outside.
A spokesperson of the PWRDA said the user will be entitled for water conservation credits for the water conserved by it. “For every cubic meter (1,000 liters) of water conserved, the user will earn a rebate equal to Rs 2.50. The maximum rebate available to a unit will depend on the zone in which the unit is located and the volume of groundwater being extracted by it,” he said.
The groundwater extraction charges will also be utilised by the Authority for funding the public water conservation schemes of various state departments, such as a project for improvement of irrigation water conveyance efficiency so as to bring more area under canal water apart from improving the recharge of groundwater.
“The PWRDA will facilitate rapid deployment and scaling up of water saving technologies in Agriculture. For this purpose, a pilot project for water conservation in coordination with the state government has been initiated in the district of Sangrur to save groundwater in the state,” the spokesperson said.
The project covers an area of 1720 acres spread over 29 villages in the district. Similar water saving projects are being planned to motivate farmers towards judicious use of water in agriculture. “The users are encouraged to implement water conservation schemes with approval of PWRDA both in their premises (e.g. rainwater harvesting) and also outside their units (e.g. collaborating with farmers to save irrigation water) to earn water conservation credits.