Water credits: A new way to conserve precious resource
Payal Gwalani, TNN Sep 23, 2011, 04.08am
ISTNAGPUR: It is said that the next world war would be over water. In order to avoid this imminent disaster, city-based environmentalist has proposed the idea of making water a tradable commodity by introducing water credits on the lines of carbon credits.The idea is to have a tradable certificate which notifies the quantity of water saved by an institution, organization or an individual this would help in maximum utilization of every available drop of water. It may be defined as a permit that allows the holder to trade the conserved water in the international market at their current market price.
Many important organizations working in the field of environment have shown an interest in the concept. The National Innovation Foundation run by the ministry of Science and Technology and ministry of environment and forest has forwarded the idea to their parent body World Innovation Foundation which is trying to develop the idea further. The United Nations GEMS/Water Programme has also hailed it as an interesting concept. Even the Environmental Information System ENVIS of the state government has endorsed it by putting it up on their website.The idea was conceived when Shripad Vaidya, an environmentalist, was trying to find ways to lessen the misery faced by the farmers in Central India. “I found out that irrigation is a big problem for many farmers in the region and started thinking of ways to help them out. Around the same time, I came across the idea of carbon credits. That made me look for ways to have a similar credit system for water,” explained Vaidya.Though commodification is viewed in a negative way, Vaidya sees it as a means to improve the value of any object. “We keep telling people the importance of justifiable use of all resources – including water. But when they attain a monetary value, people are more likely to use resources economically and try to avoid any misuse,” he said.The foremost step should be setting up of a standardized unit that would be recognized across the world, says Vaidya. “One water credit may have the value of a hundred litres or one thousand litres as per the decision taken unanimously by the concerned authorities,” he said while giving an example. The average water consumption of the interested consumer can then be measured and kept a track of. Thereafter, according to the actual consumption it may be observed whether the use is less or more than the average. Those using lesser quantities would then be able to sell their credits to those who wish to use more water than they have pledged to use. This way those individuals or organizations who try to conserve or recycle water would be able to reap financial benefits for their efforts.