Underlining the need for water conservation, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday cautioned that the city would face a severe water crisis unless consumption is managed properly.

The Chief Minister was addressing a national seminar on “Water Equipment and Management 2009: Water for All” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here. Referring to the management of water, Ms. Dikshit said a severe crisis is imminent over the next two decades if a water treatment and water management infrastructure is not built up to meet the needs of the growing economy and increasing population.

She said the Delhi Government was constantly reviewing the status of projects keeping these concerns in mind. Industrial expansion and population growth in India and specifically in urban centres have become matters of concern over the security of ground water reserves, she said.

The Chief Minister said while water is a limited resource, its use in the future is going to be shaped by four mega-trends -- population growth, decaying infrastructure, an increase in water quality standards and climate change.

A growing population not only intensifies the demand for safe and potable drinking water but also increases agricultural water usage to produce more food, she pointed out.Referring to the need for having efficient water treatment mechanism, the Chief Minister said the impact of waste on the environment was a matter of concern as well and effluents need to be treated effectively to minimise environmental pollution.

She said the Delhi Jal Board, which is responsible for production and distribution of potable water after treating raw water from various sources like the Yamuna, the Bhakhra storage, the Upper Ganga Canal and groundwater supply, also provides treatment and disposal of waste water.

Ms. Dikshit urged business houses to take responsibility and offer their expertise and help to address the challenges faced by the world today. It is increasingly clear that lack of access to clean water and sanitation causes great suffering in humanitarian, social, environmental and economic terms and seriously undermines development goals, she said.

About the Yamuna and its resuscitation, the Chief Minister said her government was awaiting release of funds from the Centre for its proposal to built interceptor sewers to tap effluents that find their way into the river.

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