The Meghalaya Cabinet on Friday approved a draft water policy on the use, conservation and protection of water sources, the Hindustan Times reported. The new policy includes measures like building check dams to conserve rainwater, rainwater harvesting systems, controlling inappropriate use of groundwater and maintaining the quality of water, News18 reported.

The state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, approved the draft after an elaborate presentation and detailed discussion.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said the policy’s objective is to recognise water resources as a common pool resource, to provide hygienic water for drinking, domestic needs, sanitation and livelihood development.

“The policy was prepared in consultation with the stakeholders and that it would be formally notified shortly,” Tynsong said. The policy was drafted by the state’s Water Resources Department.

Tynsong said the policy has outlined utilisation of water and how to preserve water bodies, including community participation in the implementation of this policy by constituting a water sanitation village council at the village level, PTI reported.

The deputy chief minister said that Meghalaya being a hilly state receives a lot of rainfall, but water can’t be retained and reaches Bangladesh within hours. “Thus, we need check dams near the international border as well as interstate borders to make use of the rainwater,” Tynsong said, according to News18. “We will focus on making these check dams as multipurpose reservoirs.”

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Correction and clarification: An earlier version of this article had erroneously stated Meghalaya was the first state in India to have a water policy.