Putin calls for water thrift

Thrifty use of water resources is among top national priorities, President Vladimir Putin said to the State Council Presidium as it held session in Rostov-on-Don, provincial and industrial centre in European Russia's south.

The water problem is too big to be tackled by particular regions single-handed or at the level of central offices, he stressed.

Water largely determines quality of life. Russia is the world's second for water resources, what with its six million lakes and rivers. Fresh water is universally acknowledged as principal 21st century commodity, and its shortages obsess the whole world, the President said emphatically.

Mr. Putin thanked Vladimir Chub, Rostov regional governor, for information about the performance of municipal water-cleaning stations, and for their efficient work. The region is putting to timely and effective use of all related allocations, and has a correct, future-oriented vision of the water problem, added the President.

Water is national treasure, and to make it accessible to all is a basic federal principle and top priority.

The President called to encourage greater use of clean water-saving technologies, and to offer economic stimuli to industrial companies for their introduction.

He warned against precipitate development of inundation-threatened areas, and pointed out unreasonable building works in such areas. Many parts of the country fail to duly monitor and regulate construction to cause emergencies.

"The government must enhance drafting efforts for a new Water Code," remarked Vladimir Putin.

He thinks water transport deserves separate discussion. In many areas, water routes remain the only ones for cargo deliveries. Importantly, water fares are quite affordable, too.

There is a dark side to the matter, however - the quicker water transportation enhances, as is a skyrocketing current trend, the quicker fish dies out in rivers and lakes, the President said with alarm.

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