THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 12 August 2019 (Rethinking water governance strategies (The Hindu))

Rethinking water governance strategies (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Composite Water Management Index
Mains level: Measures adopted by the governments to boosts groundwater level


  • India’s severe ‘water crisis’ is in the news recently.
  • India’s cities are running out of water. Chennai witnessed the worst drinking water woes.

Key facts

  • Niti Aayog’s report ‘Composite Water Management Index: A tool for water management’ stated that 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater as soon as 2020, affecting nearly 100 million people.
  • The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has been reporting on the increasing number of over-exploited blocks across India, labeled as the ‘dark’ category blocks. The recent annual book of CGWB has reported 1,034 units, out of the 6,584 units it monitors, as over-exploited.
  • CGWB’s 2013 estimates say that the groundwater development in India is just about 62% of the utilizable groundwater reserves.
  • A recent report by the Central Water Commission and ISRO asserted that India is not yet in “water scarcity condition”, but in a “water-stressed condition”, with reducing per capita water availability.

Way Forward

  • To ensure adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute. With rapid urbanization, demand cannot be met by groundwater reserves alone.
  • The groundwater meets just 10% of Delhi’s drinking water needs. The rest is met by surface water sources transported from outside Delhi.
  • Water resource departments in States are following conventional approaches to supply augmentation. They should reorient themselves and deploy demand management, conservation, and regulation strategies.
  • Centre and states should work towards an institutional change by building federal governance of water resources.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which among the following subjects comes under the Concurrent list?
1. Public Health and Sanitation
2. Agriculture including agricultural education and research
3. Electricity
4. Bankruptcy and insolvency

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. All the above
D. 3 and 4 only

Answer: D
Mains Questions:

Q.1) Individual States need to assume the responsibility for managing water resources in their territories. Critically analyse the statement.