Delhi hosts Water Asia 2000

The 3rd Water Asia 2000 was held at Delhi's Pragati Maidan from September 18 to 20. The chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit, presided over the inaugural session, while minister of state for water resources, Bijoya Chakraborty, inaugurated the exhibition. Multinationals of the water industry participated with their latest technological products. High commissions of various countries were also present with their financial packages for water privatisation. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had also put up a stall that emphasised the role of harvesting rainwater and letting communities manage water resources.

The conference and exhibition focussed on the water industry and companies came with technology for water treatment, sewage treatment, desalination plants and chemical reagents, among others. The overall stress of the conference was on privatisation of the water system. Emphasis was laid on inter-basin transfer of the vast water resources in the country. Z Hassan, secretary to the Union ministry of water resources, said that of a 4,000 billion cubic metre (cum) of water available, 1,864 billion cum comes from rivers.

CSE's stall was a major attraction for the technology-savvy companies. Several delegates showed interest in the traditional water systems of the country. A plaster of Paris model of kundi , a water harvesting structure of western Rajasthan, was a major attraction.