Kerala is not a water excess State and there is a 35 percent decline in rainfall in the last post-monsoon season and 24 per cent in the monsoon season, former Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran has said.

Inaugurating a seminar on water protection organised by the Gandhiji Study Circle as part of the agriculture fair in Thodupuzha on Friday, he said that about 200 crore people around the world faced water shortage as per United Nations estimate. By 2025, the figure would be 320 crore.

Kerala was yet to attach deserving importance to the issue of shortage of drinking water. He said that the Sasthamcotta natural tank has been shrunk to one-third and the local bodies failed to give priority to drinking water projects while preparing their projects.

He said that the 44 rivers in the State faced the threat of sand-mining and were highly polluted. One major factor, he said, for the rivers’ plight was the depletion of paddy fields which preserved natural water supporting sources. This was revealed by a simple figure — the State, which produced around 10 metric tonne of paddy nearly 20 years back, now produce only 2.5 metric tonne. Society should recognise that there is a shortage of water and projects should be implemented with public participation giving priority to protection of water sources, he said.

Mons Joseph, MLA; and Water Resources Department Principal Secretary V.J. Kurien spoke at the seminar.

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