(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Water Management for Sustainable Rural Livelihood

(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Water Management for Sustainable Rural Livelihood


Water Management for Sustainable Rural Livelihood


  • The average annual water availability of a country/region is largely dependent upon the hydro-meteorological and geological factors which generally remain constant. India accounts for nearly 4 percent of fresh water resources of the World as against 17.7 percent of total population and 2.4 percent of the land area. 
  • The main water resources of India consist of the precipitation on its territory which is estimated to be around 4000 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) per annum and transboundary flows received in its rivers and aquifers from the upper riparian countries.
  • On an average out of total precipitation,1869 BCM (46.7 percent) water remains available as natural runoff.
    However, due to geological and other factors, the utilisable water availability is limited only to 1137 BCM (28 percent of total precipitation) per annum; comprising of 690 BCM of surface and 447 BCM of replenishable groundwater.

Water for Rural Livelihood:

  • Water is a core component to ensure sustainable rural livelihood. It is an essential input to achieve growth with equity along with health and hygiene of rural masses. All the agricultural and allied activities like livestock, horticulture, floriculture, fisheries, etc. cannot grow and sustain without the adequate supply of water. 
  • Many other job-oriented activities in rural areas like food processing also require a considerable amount of water. In order to improve rural livelihood, expand local economies, create decent jobs, and maintain a healthy and productive workforce in rural areas, it is essential to provide improved access to irrigation and drinking water through efficient water management.

Challenges in Water Management

  • India is facing a number of challenges in water management such as high inter-temporal and spatial variations in the availability of water resources due to varied hydro-meteorological conditions, declining per-capita water availability due to ever increasing population, inadequate water storage for meeting future demands, overexploitation of groundwater resources, poor quality of water, low water use efficiency, and so on.

Over-Exploitation of Water Resources

  • The blatant, indiscriminate and irrational use of groundwater has led to its extraction in excess of annual replenishment in several parts of the country, particularly in the river basins lying in north-western region and parts of south India. The overall stage of groundwater extraction (ratio of annual withdrawal to annual availability) in the country was at nearly 62 percent in 2020. This ratio stood very high (more than 100 percent) in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi.
  • Over extraction of groundwater has resulted in adverse environmental impacts including declining groundwater levels and deterioration in quality. The climate change also poses challenges to water security as more extreme rates of rainfall and evapotranspiration intensify the impacts of floods and droughts. The groundwater needs to be used and managed judiciously by maintaining a proper balance between availability and utilisation for its long-term sustainability. In this context, rainwater harvesting is one of the most important initiatives which can help in a long way in sustaining the water supply in rural areas.

Stressed Water Demand

  • Water use has been increasing worldwide by about 1 percent per year since the 1980s due to population growth, socio-economic development, and changing consumption patterns. Unfortunately, India is not an exception to this trend, as it has emerged as the largest consumer of groundwater in the world. India is placed at 13th rank among the world’s seventeen extremely water-stressed countries. As per the report submitted by the Committee on Restructuring the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) 2016, if the current pattern of demand continues, nearly half of the demand for water will remain unmet by 2030, which can cause social upheaval and disruptions.

Government Initiatives

  • A campaign under Jal Shakti Abhiyan, “Catch The Rain 2022” was launched by Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind on March 29, 2022. The Ministry of Jal Shakti has proposed the implementation of this campaign with the theme catch the rain where it falls, when it falls from April to November 2022. 
  • The recommendations for the implementation of the campaign are (i) water conservation and rain water harvesting (ii) renovation of traditional and other water bodies (iii) re-use of bore well recharge structures and (iv) watershed development. Central Government has formulated a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for Water Resources Development which envisages transfer of water from water surplus basins to water deficit basins through inter-linking of rivers.
  • Under the NPP, the National Water Development Agency has identified 30 links (16 Peninsular and 14 under Himalayan Component) to be pursued in a consultative way.



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Courtesy: Kurukshetra