MOSCOW, August 15 (RIA Novosti) - India has announced plans to spend $1 billion by 2017 to clean waters in 10,000 canals, lakes and rivers as it seeks to irrigate more land, Bloomberg reported.
The investment will allow India to irrigate an additional 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres), Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said in parliament Thursday.
The projects will be partly funded by the Indian government and implemented by state governments, according to Bharti. India also plans to build artificial replenishment and rainwater harvesting structures across nearly 1 million square kilometers (386,100 square miles) to harness water from the monsoon, which accounts for about 70 percent of India’s annual rainfall, the minister confirmed.
A lack of maintenance and increased usage of groundwater by farmers has resulted in 80,000 of India’s 524,000 irrigation water bodies falling out of use, the government revealed, Bloomberg reported.
The growing population in the world’s second-most populous nation has cut its water availability to 1,545 cubic meters (54,560 cubic feet) per person in 2011 from 1,816 cubic meters in 2001, according to the Indian government.
Tokyo has already begun work on the second of three underground reservoirs designed to capture dangerous heavy rainfalls and prevent flooding on the city during storms, Bloomberg reported. The reservoir, 3.3-kilometer (2-mile) reservoir, scheduled to be completed by 2016, will be able to handle 135,000 cubic meters of water, enough to fill 54 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
India’s new water spending plan was initially sketched out in 2012.
The Indian government approved an ambitious welfare program, the National Food Security Act 2013, also known as the Right to Food Act, in July guaranteeing inexpensive food grains for nearly 800 million of its citizens, two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.