Maharashtra on Monday became the first State to have an Integrated State Water Plan (ISWP), with an aim to ensure equitable distribution by diverting water from overfed areas to drought-prone regions. The ISWP mandates all civic bodies in the State to set up a mechanism to recycle all waste water and to reuse at least 30% of it. Industries will also have to recycle 100% of the waste water generated by them. “Out of the total water use in the State, industrial use is around 3%, and with each civic body mandated to set up recycling plants, the industrial sector will be made self-sufficient,” Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said. The government will extend financial aid to set up the plants.The minister said the ISWP will allow the government to transfer excess water from water-sufficient areas to those in need. The plan has also made drip irrigation mandatory for sugar cane cultivation, and 5 lakh hectare land will be brought under it within the next five years. “No new dams will be allowed to be built in the catchment areas of other dams as has been the practice,” Mr. Mahajan said. The plan also sets a target of creating new 7.5 lakh hectare irrigation potential within the next five years and completing 150 irrigation projects for which over 75% of the project cost has already been spent.“Acceptance of the ISWP means that it now has legal validity and departments will be held responsible for its implementation. The Chief Secretary will take quarterly review of the implementation process, while the State water council headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will take a review twice in a year. The report will be presented to the legislature annually,” Mr. Mahajan said.Maharashtra has six river basins: Godavari, Krishna, Narmada, Tapi, Mahanadi, and westward flowing rivers. A separate water plan for each river basin has already been prepared. The ISWP, which was created based on these individual plans, was accepted by the State government on Monday.