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Water management

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    15th Oct, 2019

With Chennai and Maharashtra water crisis, water management issues have again taken centre stage. NITI Aayog reiterated its strategy for water resources in “Strategy for new India@75” document which included adopting an integrated river basin management approach, and setting up of river basin organisations (RBOs) for major basins.

Context

With Chennai and Maharashtra water crisis, water management issues have again taken centre stage. NITI Aayog reiterated its strategy for water resources in “Strategy for new India@75” document which included adopting an integrated river basin management approach, and setting up of river basin organisations (RBOs) for major basins 

What is Water Management?

  • Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. According to a recent NITI Aayog report, 21 Indian cities including Delhi, Chennai, and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020 if usage continues at the current rate. This entails immediate action plan for water resource management in India.

Water situation in India:-

  • India has just 4% of the world’s fresh water — but 18% of the global population.
  • The single largest source of fresh water is monsoons with an annual precipitation of about 4000 BCM (billion cubic metres) which is equivalent to1170 mm of rainfall. This is distributed both temporally and spatially. 3000BCM is concentrated in 3-4 months of monsoons. Simultaneously, some northern states are water surplus whereas several states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan are water scarce.
  • Out of the 4000 BCM, utilizable water is only 1120 BCM. Out of the utilizable water 690 BCM is available as surface water and 430 BCM as groundwater.
  • In 1951, India’s per capita water availability was 5177 cubic metres which decreased to 1545 cubic metres in 2011 and is predicted to further reduce to 1300 cubic metre by 2030

Causes for the Water vulnerability:-

  • Excessive use of groundwater for irrigation in agriculture has also caused a strain in the resource. As India is one of the top agriculture producers in the world, the consumption of water for land and crops is also one of the highest.
  • Water sources are contaminated with biological pollutants. Indian water bodies also have increased amount of solid wastes.
  • Reduction in traditional water recharging areas and Sewage and wastewater drainage into traditional water bodies has exacerbated the water scarcity situation in the country.
  • Increasing demand due to population growth, industrialisation, and rapid urbanisation have pushed the demand for water further.

Major steps and water management strategies adopted by Government:-

Ministry of Jal Shakti was formed by merging two ministries i.e. Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

  1. River Basin Planning

Central water Commission has divided the country into 20 rivers basins comprising 12 major and 8 composite river basins. To address the multi-faceted nature of water management, government has introduced an integrated approach to water resources management at the national and basin level. This includes improving institutional arrangements and working practices.

  1. Indian Rivers Inter-link

The Indian Rivers Inter-link is a proposed large-scale civil engineering project that aims to effectively manage water resources in India by linking Indian rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals and so reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts of India

  1. Watershed management programmes in India
  • Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojna

(Watershed Development Component) (WDC-PMKSY) - The main objectives of the WDC-PMKSY are to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover.

  • Neeranchal Watershed Program

Neeranchal is a World Bank assisted National Watershed Management Project. Neeranchal is designed to further strengthen and provide technical assistance to the Watershed Component of PMKSY, in particular and all components of PMKSY, in general, to enhance its delivery capacity.

  1. State specific lead in water management programmes
  • Mission Kakatiya, - launched by Telangana government aims to develop minor irrigation infrastructure, and strengthen community based irrigation management
  • Jalyukt-shivir – is a project of Maharashtra government which aims to make 5000 villages free of water scarcity every year.
  • Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan’ – has been launched by Rajasthan for effective implementation of water conservation and water harvesting in rural areas.

The path ahead:-

The most important crops of India — rice, wheat and sugarcane, are the most water consuming crops. Rice which is a major export crop consumes about 3,500 litres of water for a kilogram of grain produced. Further with constant population increase and depletion in water resources water management will increasingly become more difficult in future. The picture of the same is visible in precipitating crisis of water in southern states. Water management needs to be the central focus of efforts in the agriculture sector and the environment improvement.

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