Water scarcity is already visible with the current population size of 1.3 billion. Along with this, with rising pollution levels and climate change, the water cycle is expected to undergo significant change. It is believed that water will also be a major source of geopolitical conflict in this century. It is therefore critical to manage this natural resource as well.
Water Availability in India: Grim Situation
India consists of 16 percent of the world’s population but with only 4 percent of the world’s
water resources. The total annual water available from precipitation in India is about 4,000 cubic km. Surface water and replenishable groundwater contribute to 1,869 cubic km but only 60 per cent of this can be put to beneficial uses.
The 2018 Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) 2.0, a pan-India set of metrics that measures different dimensions of water management and use across the lifecycle of water report
released by the NITI Aayog in association with the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Ministry of Rural Development.
It indicated that 21 major cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and others are
racing to reach zero groundwater levels by 2020.
The report also indicated that, by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the
available supply, which will lead to a 6% loss in India’s GDP.
Steps Taken to address the water related issues
India has made considerable progress especially in SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation by constructing over 11 crore toilets to become open defecationfree (ODF) in five years.
NamamiGange Flagship Programme was launched in June 2014 to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation, and rejuvenation of the National River Ganga.
The National Ganga Council is chaired by PM and is working towards this goal by i) adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral co-ordination for comprehensive planning and management, and ii) maintaining minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga to ensure water quality.
A draft National Water Framework Bill, 2016 containing provisions for an overarching national legal framework with principles for protection, conservation, regulation, and management of water as a vital and stressed natural resource was suggested under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah.
The Government is planning to update the 2012 version of the National Water Policy (NWP) and set up a National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency to bring a paradigm shift in water
The creation of the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2019 by merging the Ministry of Water Resources,
River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Jal Shakti Abhiyan – a campaign for water conservation and water security was launched in 2019 to make water conservation a Jan Andolan.
The Government launched Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) on India’s 73rdIndependence Day to provide Functional Household Tap Connection at the rate of 55 litres per capita per day (Ipcd) to every rural household (Har GharNal Se Jal) by 2024.
Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), a groundwater management scheme was launched to improve groundwater management in seven states of India – Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
In the Union Budget of 2021-22, Universal Coverage of Water Supply and Swachh Bharat Mission
had a special focus.
Inter-Linking of Rivers project is also in the pipeline. The project comprises 14 rivers in the peninsular region and 16 rivers of Himalayan origin.
Steps Taken by Railways – Introduced Water vending machines at Railway stations; Jaldoot water trains were sent to drought-hit areas of Maharashtra.
New Water policy launched for the restoration of water bodies, establishing water recycling plants,rainwater harvesting, efficient water usage, automatic coach washing plants, etc.
on the occasion of the 72ndRepublic Day, the govt. launched a nationwide movement named ‘Nisarg Raksha’ on Environmental conservation and Water Rejuvenation. It aims to train 1 million NisargaRakshaks – One volunteer for every village.
Government is creating a forum named “Nature Protector forum’ at the National and state level to monitor this project implementation.The project will be implemented through four divisions: State —District — Taluka — Village.
The main component of the project would be to use Data Analytics to increase the effectiveness of the project and low-cost methods using local means to work on initiatives on Environmental conservation and Water Rejuvenation.
Local stories of change like Chipko Andolan to save trees and themes on local culture will be used to strategize new initiatives for conserving water resources.
‘Nature Protector App’ has been designed to help any conscious citizen to participate in the nature conservation campaign.Also, through Rishihood University, Govt.is planning to launch a one-year fellowship program for young professionals in the water sector in collaboration with the NITI
Aayog and Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The role of fellows would be to work with respective governments of state and union territories to
understand the local issues, administrative structure and gain insights into water governance.