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Integrated Water Management for Faster Socio-economic Development and Water Security: A Case Study of Gujarat

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Published: 8th Jun, 2021

Integrated Water Management for Faster Socio-economic Development and Water Security: A Case Study of Gujarat
  • Gujarat is the capital of India’s dairy industry where animal husbandry is one of the major sources of income to rural families. Therefore, adequate and assured availability of clean water for cattle is a pre-requisite for productivity.
  • With 6% of the total geographical area of India, it has 12.36% of total water-stressed area of the country. About 58.6% of the total area is water-stressed due lo arid, semi-arid and salinity conditions. Hence, it is severely water-stressed State, next only to Rajasthan.
  • The uneven distribution of water in Gujarat creates a peculiar situation wherein 1/4th of the area has adequate water and remaining 3/4th of the State is water-scarce, especially Kachchh.
  • Per capita water availability in Gujarat (2011) is 920 cubic meters per annum against country's 1,720 cubic meters whereas, the minimum requirement of water per person is at least 1,000 cubic meters.


Strategy to meet the demand

  • In all decision-making related to water, people’s participation became the non-negotiable principle.
  • Rainwater harvesting and/or artificial recharge with scientific planning and monitoring based on watershed principles, using satellite data was adopted.
  • Completion of Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river and distribution canal network was taken up on top priority.
  • Inter-basin transfer of water from reasonably water rich South and Central Gujarat to North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kachchh was planned.
  • Strengthening of existing canal system, participatory irrigation management and micro-irrigation promoted in a big way.
  • Agriculture extension activities to educate to promote the concept of ‘Per Drop More Crop’ and conserve water was initiated as a campaign.
  • The drinking water supply sector was reorganized in the form of three organizations carrying out specific tasks:
  • Gujarat Water Infrastructure Limited (GWIL) for building bulk-water transfer infrastructure.
  • Gujarat Water Supply & Sewerage Board (GWSSB).
  • Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO).

Village Action Plans (VAPs)

  • In every village, five persons, especially women were trained to test the quality of water.
  • The Government made provision to form Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC) or, ‘Pani Samiti’.

Water transfer through canals

  • A unique approach of transferring flood water from Narmada to water scarce regions of North Gujarat and Saurashtra was taken up by constructing 332 km long ‘Sujalam Sufalam’ (unlined recharge) canal, on the northern side, parallel to the Narmada main canal which helped in groundwater recharge leading to reversal of the depletion in groundwater.

Agriculture sector

  • In 2005, Gujarat Green Revolution Company (GGRC) Ltd. was set up to bring in water-use efficiency in the agriculture sector by promoting drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.
  • Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyanwas launched in 2018 under which a number of water conservation activities were taken up.
  • To ensure water security in the Saurashtra region,Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana was taken up under which surplus water from Narmada will be transferred and stored into about 115 reservoirs of Saurashtra.
  • In southern and eastern Gujarat inhabited by tribals, small lift irrigation schemes have been taken up in a big way providing assured irrigation.


  • In Gujarat, 83% of rural households have assured tap water supply. The pioneering work by WASMO (Water and Sanitation Management Organization) has gained multiple recognitions including Prime Minister’s Civil Services Award in 2018; United Nations Public Service Award in 2009; and CAPAM International Innovations Award in 2010.
  • The success in Gujarat inspired the formation of the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2019 and to launch ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ (JSA) to conserve water by ‘making water everyone’s business’ and achieves water security to all as well as the Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • If water security can be achieved in drought-prone Gujarat, it is possible that this integrated and focused approach followed by the Union Government will bring water security in the country, ensuring faster socio¬ economic development and high economic growth for the benefit of all.

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