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First-ever waterbody census

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    28th Apr, 2023


The Ministry of Jal Shakti has released the report of the first census of waterbodies.

Key-highlights of the Census

  • India has 24.24 lakh waterbodies like ponds, tanks and lakes, with West Bengal accounting for the most (7.47 lakh) and Sikkim the least (134).
  • The report states, “24,24,540 waterbodies have been enumerated in the country, out of which 97.1% (23,55,055) are in rural areas and only 2.9% (69,485) in urban areas.”
  • As per the report,
    • 5 per cent (14,42,993) of waterbodies are ponds
    • tanks (15.7 per cent i.e. 3,81,805)
    • reservoirs (12.1 per cent i.e. 2,92,280)
    • water conservation schemes/percolation tanks/check dams (9.3% i.e. 2,26,217)
    • lakes (0.9% i.e. 22,361)
    • others (2.5% i.e. 58,884)

What is water body?

  • The census defines a waterbody as “all natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes (example industrial, pisciculture, domestic/drinking, recreation, religious, ground water recharge etc)”.
  • Waterbodies are usually of various types known by different names like tank, reservoirs, ponds and bundhies etc.
  • A structure where water from ice-melt, streams, springs, rain or drainage of water from residential or other areas is accumulated or water is stored by diversion from a stream, nala or river will also be treated as waterbody.

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