Advocate A S Khandeparkar representing the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) told the division bench of Bombay High Court headed by Justice Abhay Oka that the Indian Premier League (IPL) was a sporting or recreational activity, so it should come in the fourth category of priority according to the water resource management plan of Maharashtra government.Khandeparkar added that it was not just for IPL but cricket pitches have to be maintained for Test matches, One-Dayers, first-class cricket matches as well, so it all comes under sporting category.Ground water or water from civic supply, every water body, during times of drought are to be regulated according to priority. During the IPL matches last year, tons of water was being used to maintain cricket pitches at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and other stadiums in the state. Due to the excessive water usage during shortage, petitioners had approached the High Court, pointing out that people did not have water to drink in many areas of the state while water was being ‘wasted’ for keeping grass green for the matches. During the hearing of the petition, few IPL matches had to be shifted out of Maharashtra after court order.Maharashtra’s and the national water policy states that water for drinking purposes has to be given the first priority. Second in the list is agriculture and hydro projects, third is commercial and industrial purpose, fourth is environment and recreation and last comes any other purpose like religion, entertainment etc. MCA through its affidavit also told the court that just to maintain the ground, during IPL season between April and May, approximately 80,000 liters of water is used everyday except on the day or a day before any scheduled match. During a scheduled IPL match itself approximately 2,50,000 liters of water is used to meet the requirements of the spectators and this water is purchased by MCA through tankers.advertisementMCA also said that since the IPL matches were pushed out of the state, Wankhede has been fortified with two ring wells and another ring well is under construction. And in March this year, rain water harvesting has also started.MCA promised that from 2018, it will be the water saved in ring wells that will be used for the IPL matches which are held during the peak summer season. MCA has also said that the Mumbai municipal corporation does not supply any water for the Wankhede Stadium.Khandeparkar during the court hearing also stated that there are other sports like football and hockey will also have to be regulated like cricket if issues of IPL is raised.He also added that “public usage of water like in malls will also have to be regulated if such issues are raised.”The court has now kept the case for final hearing in September, where each and every one associated with the case will be heard before the court passes an order on the issue.