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  • Theme Paper





    Indian Water Re 0 rces Soci tv

    at Water. Resources Development and Management

    Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee

    Roorkee - 247 667 (Uttarakhand)


    Chapter No. Title Page No.

    Chapter I Water Resources Development Present and Future Scenario

    Chapter II Role of Water Resources Development in 11

    Ascertaining Socio-economic Growth

    Chapter III Bharat Nirman Plan (2005-2009) 15

    Chapter IV Water Sector Issues and Opportunities 22

    in Bharat Nirman Plan





    1.0 Introduction

    India, though have achieved remarkable progress in the area of water resources development since independence, is nevertheless experiencing range of issues in the water sector primarily due to meteorological reasons such as severe climatic variations as well as factors. like rapid growth of population, urbanization & industrialization. The demographic and economic growth of the country is further slated to carryon its momentuin for at least half a century more. The water sector in India, which comfnands merely 4% of the global freshwater resources and supports 16% of the world's popUlation, is hard-pressed to maintain the delicate balance between the demand and supply due to shrinking per capita availability and difficulties faced in development of remammg resources.

    The cabinet has declared the year 2007 as "Water Year" with the focus on developing consensus on appropriate measures including legislation on better management of the water sector, timely completion of irrigation projects, maintenance of existing projects to ensure water availability to farmers, awareness programmes for the masses, organization of conferences, workshops on important development and management issues. Water Resources day is being organized since 1987-88 and World Water Day since 1994 to deliberate and formulate strategy on some of the important aspects of water resources development and management and the saine theme is propagated thro"ughout the country during the year.

    Water being the most vital input for supporting life and sustaining socioeconomic development, the policies and strategies impinge on society largely. Hence for the overall development of the country the proper handling of this finite resource is crucial. The success of Government of India's endeavour a]ong with State Governments and Panchayat Raj Institutions, in Bharat Nirman Plan, is rooted on efficient water resources development and management.

    1.1 National Water Policy

    The National Water Policy was adopted in September, 1987. However, since a number of issues and challenges emerged in the development and management of the water resources, the National Water Policy (1987) was reviewed and the updated National ' Water Policy (2002) was adopted by the National Water Resources Council in its 5th meeting held on 1 st April 2002. Recognising water as a precious national asset, the National Water Policy (2002) embodies the Nation's resolve that planning, development and management of ~ater resources would be governed by National Perspectives. The policy recognizes the drainage basin as the basic unit of planning, development and

  • management of' water resources and calls for appropriate measures to optimise utilisation of this resource.

    The updated National WaterPolicy lays emphasis on integrated water resources development and management for optimal and sustainable utilisation of the available surface and groundwater. The role of creation of well-developed information system,

    _ water conservation, demand management, performance improvement, participatory approach to water resources management, promotion of non-conventional methods for water utilisation, etc. have been duly emphasized in the National Water Policy, 2002. It integrates quantity and quality aspects as well as environmental considerations for water

    - through adequate institutional arrangements. Besides, ecological needs have also been assigned due priority in the water allocation. The involvements of beneficiaries and stakeholders in the project planning and participatory approach in water resources management have been equally stressed in the policy. Significant emphasis has also been laid on water quality aspects, which include maintaining minimum flow in the streams and treatment of effluents to acceptable standards. Issues like resettlement &

    -rehabilitation have also been emphasized in the revised policy

    1.2 -Water Resources Availability 1.2.1 Average Water Resources Potential

    Proper assessment of the availability of water from surface and sub-surface sources is the cornerstone _ for proper planning, development and management. As already elaborated above, the precipitation, in the form of rain and snowfall, is a crucial component of the hydrological cycle that makes fresh water available on a renewable basis. The geographical area India is 329 million hectares (Mba). The mean annual rainfall, taking the co.untry as a whole, is 1170 mm. This gives an annual precipitation of about 4,000 Km3. A significant part of this p~ecipitation seeps into the ground and the balance flows through streams and rivers and collects in water bodies adding to the surface flow. A part of the water that seeps into the ground remains as soil moisture in

    -the upper layers and the rest adds to the ground water resources. Subsequently, a major part of the water from surface flows, soil m~istureand ground water sources, when put to -various uses, returns to the atmosphere through evapo-transpiration and evaporation. Part of the water from -surface flows may enter ground w

  • by ewc (1993) excepting the cases of Brahmaputra and Krishna basins. Taking into account of the above two basin variations, the estimation of NCIWRD yielded that the average annual water resources potential of the country is 1953 BCM. .

    The Standing Sub-Committee for' Assessment of Availability and Requirement of Water for Diverse Uses in the Country' constituted by the MoWR in its Report (August,

    . 2000) observed that the latest assessment made by CWC in the year 1993 that is, 1869 . BCM are considered as reliable.

    1.2.2 Ground Water Resources

    Groundwater in India is the primary source of water supply for domestic and many industrial uses. More importantly, it is the single largest and most productive source of irrigation water. At present, 85% of the water supplies for domestic use in rural areas, 50% of water for urban and industrial uses and 55% of the irrigation water requirements are being met from groundwater.

    The arumal replenishable groundwater resources has been estimated to be at 433 BCM. This is the sum total of the potential due to natural recharge from rainfall and the potential due to recharge augmentation from canal irrigation system.

    1.2.3 Utilisable Water Resources

    Within the limitations of physiographic . conditions and socio-political environment, legal and constitutional constraints and the technology of development available at a given point of time, utilizable quantity of water from the surface has been assessed from time to time. It has been estimated that out of the average annual water resource potential of 1869 BCM, the average annual utilisable water resource (surface and ground) is 1123 BCM of which about 690 BCM is from surface water and 433 BCM is from ground water.


    1.3 Present scenario of water resources development

    During the plan-period India witnessed considerable developmental activities that covered an sectors like irrigation, drinking water supply, hydropower generation etc. The key aspects of the water resources scenario in India are discussed below.

    1.3.1 Irrigation sector

    The cultivable area of the country is estimated to be about 186 Mha out of which about 142 Mha is under cultivation. The ultimate irrigation potential of the country . through major, medium and minor irrigation projects has been assessed as 140 million hectare (Mha) by conventional storage and diversion works. The ultimate irrigation potential of the country is 140 Mha of which 58.50 Mha. is major and medium irrigation projects, 17.40 m.ha. is minor surface water schemes and 64.10 Mha. is ground water schemes. The imgation potential created of the country, which was only 22.6 Mha during


  • the time of independence has gone upto 102.77 Mha by March, 2006. The irrigation potential utilised presently stands at 85.56 Mha. The growth in irrigation sector has contributed significantly to the rise in food production from 51 Million Tonnes at the time of independence to the present level of 21 0 Million Tonnes. This has resulted in the country becoming self sufficient in food production.

    As much as 52 percent rise in food grain production .can be attributed to increase in irrigated area. Productivity of irrigated lands in India ranges from around 1.5 tonnes per ha to 4.0 tonnes per ha for cereal crops compared to achievable target of about 5 to 6 tonnes per ha. Though productivity in irrigated areas has increased, such increases are still way below the world standards and of developing countries like China and Brazil. With rise in population and industrialization putting pressure on land, it is expected that cultivated area will stabilize at 140-145 Mha. As irrigated agriculture is more productive than rainfed agriculture, to meet the countries future needs of food and fibre it is imperative to bring more area under irrigation.

    At present irrigation sector consumes as much as 83% of available water resources. With the demand from other sectors rising at a faster pace, the availability of water for irrigation would reduce. It is, therefore necessary to improve the performance of existing system. Higher degree of efficiencies in the management of water use in irrigation sector is required to be achieved to sustain production of crops. Irrigation efficiency should be improved from the present average of about 35-40 per cent to the maximum achievable i.e. around 60 per cent. Wherever water is scares if economically advantageous deficit irrigation may be practiced. Water intensive crops such as sugarcane and paddy should be discouraged in the areas of water scarcity.

    1.3.2 Creation of storages

    Severe spatial and temporal vanatlOns in rainfall promptedt:hat creation of storages be given due priority within the overall plan for water resources development. . The successive Five-year Plans initiated after independence, therefore laid significant

    . emphasis on creation of storages that resulted in many remarkable achievements. Many

    major, medium and minor water resources projects have been constructed during these

    last six decades and India, today with about 4050 completed large dams and 475 are

    under various stages of construction, ranks third in the world after China and USA in

    terms of number of large dams. All these projects have resulted in increasing the live

    storage capacity from 15.6 BCM at the time of independence to 282 BCM including 57

    BCM from minor irrigation schemes of surface water, now. Storages held in these dams

    are insurance against the vagaries of nature. Proj ects under construction are likely to add

    another 64 BCM while 108 BCM is to be contributed by the projects under


    Even after such relentless persuasion to create more storages, till date, the present level of development on the country in terms of creation oflive storages is only just more than 11 % of the average annual water resources potential of the country. The level of creation of storages in India is decisively lower compared to some other nations in the


  • world. The per capita storage in the country which is about 275 m3 is way below the storage achieved in many of the countries such as Russia (6103 m\ Australia (4733 m\ Brazil (3145 m\ United States (1964 m\ Turkey (1739 m\ Spain (1410 m\ Mexico

    3(1245 m\ China (1111 m ) and South Africa (753 m3) and there is an urgent need to vigorously pursue the case for creating storages, wherever feasible, given it's projected rise in population, urbanization & industrialization.

    1.3.3 Urban & Rural Water Supply

    The National Water Policy 2002 gives over riding priority to drinking water over other uses. The objective of any water supply scheme is to supply safe and clean water in adequate quantity and as economically as possible. Lot of effluent or wastewater is generated in domestic sector, which flows back untreated to the already shrinking water bodies. Groundwater is also getting contaminated. In development of water resources for domestic use, the most important and challenging issue is that of sustainability of resource and quality. With population growth and rise in urbanization, the demand for treated water for domestic use is increasing rapidly.

    About 92% of urban population has been covered by safe drinking water. Drinking water requirement of most of mega cities are met from reservoir of irrigation or multi-purpose schemes existing nearby and even by long distance transfer. The rural habitations have been provided access to the safe drinking water from hand pumps and stand posts and about as well as mini and regional piped water supply schemes. More than 85 percent of rural water supply is ground water based and consumes about 5 percent of the total annual replenishable ground water.

    1.3.4 Development in Power sector

    Another. important developing sector of economy using substantial quantity of water is power sector and therefore water resources is an integral component for the development of power sector in India. Coil, oil, gas and hydroelectric potential constitute the conventional sources for electricity in the country. Of these, coal-based thermal power plants and, in some regions, hydropower, have been the mainstay of electricity generation. Presently, the total installed capacity of the country is 1,28,435 MW of which the thermal power accounts for 84,234 MW which is 65.6% of the total installed capacity.

    Hydropower is a renewable, economic, non- polluting and environmentally benign source of energy. Hydropower stations have the inherent ability for instantaneous starting, stopping, load variations etc. and help in improving reliability of the power system. Furthermore, there is no fuel cost during the life of the station as hydropower generation is a non-consumptive use of water. The benefits of hydropower as a clean, environment friendly and economically attractive source of energy have now been sufficiently recognized. The need for its accelerated development also comes from its capability of erihanced system reliability and economics of utilization of resources. The


  • National Water Policy, 2002 has accorded high priority to hydropower development only next to drinking water and irrigation water use in context to water allocation priorities.

    The total installed capacity in hydropower is 34,110 MW i.e 26.6% of the...