India has more than 18% of the world’s population, it has only 4% of the world’s renewable
water resources. The average annual precipitation of 3,880 billion cubic meters (BCM) in India is highly variable, both in time and space.
About the scenario:
More than 50% of precipitation takes place in about 15 days and less than 100 hours altogether in a year. After evaporation, we are left with about 2,000 BCM of water.
The utilisable water resources are about 1,122 BCM (690 BCM. or 61%, surface water and 432 BCM. or 39%, groundwater).
The water resources utilised are about 700 BCM (450 BCM of surface water and 250 BCM of groundwater). It is estimated that our annual requirement would be about 843 BCM in 2025 and 1,180 BCM in 2050.
About 78% of water utilised goes for agriculture; 8% goes towards domestic use; 6% is used for industry, and the remaining 8% goes towards other uses.
India’s per capita water availability is declining - it reduced from 1,816 cubic meters in 2001 to 1,545 cubic meters in 2011. The per capita availability is projected to further reduce to 1,340 cubic meters by 2025 and 1,140 cubic meters by 2050.
Water Governance Issues:
The first issue is making an adequate quantity of drinking water available to the people.
The second issue is improving the low water-use efficiency in irrigation and industry - a drop of water saved is a drop added to the ecosystem.
The third issue is tackling pollution of water bodies, especially our rivers.
The fourth issue is reusing and recycling water.
The management of water resources has seen a paradigm shift in India in recent years even as water governance has been placed at the forefront of the country’s development agenda.
The Jal Shakti Ministry to give impetus to integrated management of water resources in India with a special focus on the demand side and supply-side management.
The main aim was to bring all aspects of water under a single umbrella in line with India’s National Water Policy and shift from a compartmentalised approach to a comprehensive approach.
Piped Water Delivery to Households
The Jal Jeevan Mission launched in 2019 aims to provide 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household in the country by 2024, with a massive outlay of Rs. 3.60
lakh Crore. The maximum impact of water scarcity is faced by women who have to spend considerable energy and time to carry’ water from the source to their homes.
With piped water supply delivering water to the households, Jal Jeevan Mission aims to end their drudgery.
Similarly, the announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) in the Union Budget in 2021, with an outlay of Rs. 2.87 lakh Crore would provide piped water to those 2.68 Crore urban households which do not have it.
Improving Water Use Efficiency:
The ‘Per Drop More Crop’ component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) promotes water use efficiency through drip and sprinkler irrigation.
To provide impetus to micro-irrigation in the country, a Micro Irrigation Fund with a corpus of Rs. 5.000 Crore was created with NABARD during 2018-19, for the ‘Per Crop More Drop’ component.
In the Union Budget for the financial year 2021-22. an announcement has been made to double the initial corpus of the Micro Irrigation Fund of Rs. 5,000 Crore, created under NABARD, by augmenting it by another Rs. 5,000 Crore.
The National Project on Aquifer Management (NAQU1M), one of the world’s biggest programmes of its kind, envisages the formulation of aquifer management plans to facilitate the sustainable management of groundwater.
An area of over 13 lakh sq km has been mapped out of a total of 24.8 lakh sq km.
The activities under the National Water Mission, which aims to optimise water use efficiency by 20%, look to conserve water, minimise wastage and ensure more equitable distribution both across and within states with a special focus on recycling of wastewater.
The mission has been able to nudge various stakeholders to see water as a limited resource through campaigns like ‘Catch the Rain’, ‘Sahi Fasal’ etc.