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Water Resources


THE Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation lays down policies and programs for the development and regulation of the water resources of the country. It covers sectoral planning, coordination, policy guidelines, technical examination and techno-economic appraisal of projects, providing central assistance to specific projects, facilitation of external assistance and assistance in the resolution of inter-state water disputes, policy formulation, planning and guidance in respect of major, medium and minor irrigation, groundwater management, command area development, flood management, dam safety and river development and Ganga rejuvenation (including its tributaries rejuvenation), regulation and development of inter-state rivers, implementation of awards of Tribunals, water quality assessment, bilateral/external assistance and matters relating to rivers common to India and neighboring countries.

The Ministry has been renamed the Ministry of Jal Shakti with two departments—Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Water Availability

  • The average annual water availability of any region or country is largely dependent upon hydro-meteorological and geological factors and is generally constant.
  • As per National Commission on Integrated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD) report, the total water availability of the country received through precipitation is about 4000 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM) per annum.
  • After evaporation, 1869 BCM water is available as a natural runoff.
  • Due to geological and other factors, the utilizable water availability is limited to 1137 BCM per annum comprising 690 BCM of surface water and 447 BCM of replenishable groundwater.
  • The average annual per capita water availability in the years 2001 and 2011 was assessed as 1820 cubic meters and 1545 cubic meters respectively which may reduce further to 1340 and 1140 in the years 2025 and 2050 respectively.
  • Water stressed condition: Annual per-capita water availability of less than 1700 cubic meters.
  • Water scarcity condition: Annual per-capita water availability below 1000 cubic meters.
  • Due to the high temporal and spatial variation of precipitation, the water availability of many regions of the country is much below the national average and can be considered as water-stressed / water scarce.
  • Total requirement of the country for different uses for high demand scenarios for the years 2025 and 2050 has been assessed as 843 BCM and 1180 BCM respectively.

National Water Policy

  • The National Water Policy, 2012 was adopted by the National Water Resources Council.
  • This Policy has made several recommendations for conservation, development, and improved management of water resources in the country.
  • The Policy lays emphasis on:
    • Comprehensive legislation for optimum development of inter-state rivers and river valleys
    • Setting up of water regulatory authority by each state Incentivizing recycle and reuse of water
    • Undertaking conservation of rivers, river corridors, water bodies and infrastructure in a scientifically planned manner through community participation
    • Incentivizing water saving in irrigation through methods like micro-irrigation, automated irrigation operation, etc

National Water Mission

  • The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was prepared by the Government, which laid down the principles and identified the approach to be adopted to meet the challenges of impact of climate change through eight national missions.
  • National Water Mission is one of the missions under NAPCC.
  • The identified goals of the Mission are:
    • Comprehensive water data base in public domain and assessment of the impact of climate change on water resource
    • Promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation, and preservation
    • Increasing water use efficiency by 20 percent
    • Promotion of basin level integrated water resources management

Main Activities:

  • Comprehensive water database in the public domain: India-WRIS (Water Resource Information System), a portal for providing information on water resources, has been developed by Central Water Commission.
  • All the data pertaining to surface water and groundwater are made available at India-WRIS.
  • GIS data pertaining to surface water resources and groundwater resources are displayed on the site of India-WRIS.

NWM Web Portal:

  • The portal aims at providing all the information relating to water resources, organizations and their activities on different aspects of water resources at one point.

National Mission for Clean Ganga

  • The Ganga basin is the most populous in the world, with more than 400 million people in India alone.
  • It accounts for 28 percent of India’s water resources, holds about 26 percent of India’s landmass, and hosts 43 percent of the population.
  • The main stem of the river traverses 5 major states namely, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, and travels 2525 kms.
  • The Ganga River basin including all its tributaries covers about a million square kilometers area in 11 states in the country.
  • The river is home to some exotic marine life such as gharials, turtles, Gangetic dolphins, and golden mahseer etc.
  • On important religious/spiritual days, millions of people converge on its banks in select cities to pray and bathe in the waters, and for them, a clean Ganga holds great value.
  • More than 120 million people came to the city of Allahabad for pilgrimage in 2013, making it the largest gathering in the world.
  • The major source of pollution in the river is untreated domestic and industrial liquid waste thrown into it.
  • About 70 percent of the pollution is from untreated domestic sewage, 20 percent is from toxic industrial wastewater and 10 percent is from non-point sources such as agricultural runoff, open defecation, dumping of solid waste disposal, etc.
  • The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was launched in 1985 and extended to two phases (GAP I & GAP II) over more than two decades.
  • It focused primarily on urban wastewater and funded a large number of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) and related urban wastewater infrastructure.
  • In 2015, the “Namami Gange” - Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission program was launched.
  • This was at an indicative cost of ? 20,000 crores, as an umbrella program with an aim to integrate previous and currently ongoing projects and new initiatives planned as its part.
  • In 2016, through the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management) Authorities Order 2016, NGRBA has been replaced with a National Ganga Council for Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management of River Ganga as an authority.

Jal Kranti Abhiyan:

  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation launched Jal Kranti Abhiyan(2015-16 to 2017-18) in order to consolidate water conservation and management in the country.
  • Objectives:
    • Strengthening grass root involvement of all stakeholders including Panchayati Raj Institutions and local bodies in the water security and development schemes (e.g. Participatory Irrigation Management)
    • Encouraging the adoption/utilization of traditional knowledge in water resources conservation and its management
    • Enhancing livelihood security through water security in rural areas

Jal Manthan:

  • Jal Manthan is an initiative of this Ministry for wider consultations among various stakeholders for churning out new ideas and tangible solutions to various water sector issues.
  • The focus of Jal Manthan is to refine policies of the Ministry to make them more people-friendly and responsive to the needs of the states.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana

  • During 2015-16, Pradhan Mantri Krishi SinchayeeYojana (PMKSY) was launched.
  • Main objectives:
    • Enhance the physical access of water on the farm and expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (har khet ko pani)
    • Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage
    • Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices
    • Promote extension activities relating to water harvesting, water management and crop alignment for farmers
    • Attract greater private investments in precision irrigation

Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme

  • The AIBP was launched in 1996-97.
  • Objective:
    • Provide Central Assistance to major/medium irrigation projects in the country
    • To accelerate the implementation of such projects which were beyond resource capability of the states or were in the advanced stage of completion
  • Priority was given to those projects which were started in the pre-Fifth and Fifth Plan period and also to those which were benefitting tribal and drought-prone areas.

Command Area Development and Water Management

  • The Centrally Sponsored Command Area Development (CAD) Programme was launched in 1974-75.
  • Objective:
    • Development of an adequate delivery system of irrigation water up to farmers’ field
    • To enhance water use efficiency and production and productivity of crops per unit of land and water for improving the socio-economic condition of farmers
  • The program envisages the integration of all activities relating to irrigated agriculture in a coordinated manner with multi-disciplinary team under a Command Area Development Authority.
  • The Programme was restructured and renamed as Command Area Development and Water Management(CAD&WM) Programme in 2004.
  • The Programme is being implemented pari-passu with Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) during the XII Five Year Plan.
  • The program is under implementation as a sub-component of the Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP) component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) - from 2015-16 onwards.
  • The ongoing CADWM program has been restricted to the implementation of CAD works of 99 prioritized AIBP projects from 2016-17 onwards.

Participatory Irrigation Management

  • The National Water Policy stresses the participatory approach in water resource management.
  • The participation of farmers in the management of irrigation would include transfer responsibility for operation and maintenance and also the collection of water charges to the Water Users’ Association in their respective jurisdictions.
  • One time functional grant at ?1,200/- per hectare to be shared by the center, state, and farmers in the ratio of 45:45:10 respectively is being paid to outlet level water users associations’ as an incentive, the interest from which is to be used for maintenance.

Flood Management

Flood Management Programme

  • During the XI Plan, the government launched Flood Management Programme for providing central assistance to the state governments for undertaking the works related to river management, flood control, anti-erosion, drainage development, floodproofing, restoration of damaged flood management works and anti-sea erosion works.
  • Another new scheme Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMBAP) has been proposed with merged components from the existing Flood Management Programme (FMP) and River Management Activities and Works related to Border Areas (RMBA) schemes.

River Management Activities related to Border Areas

  • This central sector scheme is in place since 2014 to cover the major works/schemes during the XII Plan
  • It has the following components:
    • Hydrological observations and flood forecasting on common border rivers with neighboring countries
    • Flood forecasting on rivers common to India and Nepal
    • Hydrological observations on rivers originating in Bhutan: The cost of operation and maintenance of these sites in Bhutan is borne by India
    • Joint observations on rivers common to India and Bangladesh

Ganga Flood Control Commission

  • With the objective to effectively tackle critical and chronic flood problems in the Ganga Basin, Ganga Flood Control Board (GFCB) was set up in 1972.
  • The functions include: to lay down the broad policies and decide priorities in the implementation of various schemes, and to issue necessary directions in respect of formulation of the comprehensive plan for flood control in the Ganga basin and approval of schemes.

Central Ground Water Board

Ground Water Development

  • CGWB carries out a periodic assessment of groundwater resources jointly with the state groundwater departments.

Aquifier Mapping and Formulation of Aquifier Management Plan

  • Aquifiers are natural rock formations which can store and economically yield water.
  • In the XII Plan, CGWB has taken up the National Project on Aquifier Management (NAQUIM) to facilitate identification, delineation, characterization, and effective management of aquifiers to ensure the sustainability of groundwater resources.

Demonstrative Projects on “Artificial Recharge to Groundwater and Rainwater Harvesting

  • CGWB has implemented demonstrative projects on artificial recharge to groundwater and rainwater harvesting.

Rajiv Gandhi National Ground Water Training and Research Institute

  • It is the training arm of Central Ground Water Board and is located at Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
  • It caters to the training requirements of the Central Ground Water Board and other central and state government organizations, academic institutes, NGOs, etc.
  • RGNGWTRI is implementing a three-tier (national level, state, and block-level) training program keeping in view the requirements of the National Project on Aquifer Management.

Central Water Commission

  • Central Water Commission (CWC) is headed by a Chairman, with the status of an ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India.
  • The work of the Commission is divided among 3 wings:
    • Designs and Research Wing (D&R)
    • Water Planning and Projects Wing (WP&P)
    • River Management Wing (RM)
  • Each wing comprises a number of units/ organizations and is responsible for the disposal of tasks and duties falling within the scope of functions assigned to it.


  • CWC is charged with the general responsibility of initiating, coordinating, and furthering in consultation with the state governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation, and utilization of water resources in the respective state for the purpose of flood management, irrigation, drinking water supply and water power generation.
  • The Commission, if so required, can undertake the construction and execution of any such scheme.

Water Quality Monitoring:

  • Central Water Commission is monitoring water quality at 429 key locations covering all the major river basins of India.
  • It is maintaining a three-tier laboratory system for analysis of the physio-chemical parameters of the water.
  • The water quality data being so collected are put in various uses related to the planning and development of water resources projects.

Flood Forecasting:

  • CWC is providing Flood Forecasting service at 226 stations, of which 166 are level forecasting stations on major rivers and 60 are inflow forecasting stations on major dams/ barrages.
  • It covers 19 major river systems in the country and 19 states.
  • On average, about 6,000 forecasts are being issued during the season every year.

Morphological Studies:

  • The study of river morphology has become imperative as large areas of the country are affected by floods every year causing severe damage to life and property.
  • A morphological study of three rivers namely, Ghaghra, Sutluj, and Gandak have been completed.
  • Further, morphological studies of 15 rivers namely Ganga, Sharda, Rapti, Kosi, Bagmati, Yamuna, Bramhaputra, Subansiri, Pagladiya, Krishna, Tungbhadra, Mahananda, Mahanadi, Hooghly, and Tapti is under progress.

National Register of Large Dams:

  • As per the latest information compiled under the National Register of Large Dams (NRLD) maintained by CWC, there are 5701 large dams in the country.
  • Out of this, 5254 large dams have been completed and 447 others are under construction.

Water Resource Information System:

  • CWC and ISRO jointly developed the Water Resources Information System (India-WRIS) in 2010.
  • The information system contains several GIS layers on water resources projects, thematic layers like major water bodies, land use/land cover, wastelands, land degradation, etc., environmental layers as well as infrastructure and other administrative layers.

Farakka Barrage Project

  • Farakka Barrage Project with headquarters at Farakka in Murshidabad district of West Bengal is a subordinate office under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The Farakka Barrage Project Authority was set up in 1961.
  • The main objective of the Project is to divert an adequate quantity of Ganga waters to Bhagirathi- Hoogly river system through a 38.38 km long feeder canal for preservation and maintenance of Kolkata Port by improving the regime and navigability of the Bhagirathi-Hoogly river system.
  • Apart from the above, the Farakka Barrage Project is facilitating the implementation of India-Bangladesh Ganga Water Treaty-1996 on sharing of Ganga water between India and Bangladesh.

Betwa River Board

  • Betwa River Board (B.R.B) was constituted in 1976 to execute the Rajghat Dam Project and Power House.
  • The project authority started construction of the project under the overall guidance of the Betwa River Board Act, 1976.
  • The benefits and cost of the above project are shared equally by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee

  • The SSCAC was constituted by the Government of India in accordance with the directives of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) in 1980.
  • The functions of SSCAC include:
    • Scrutinizing the project estimates of dam and powerhouse works and recommend for the administrative approval
    • Exploring the requirement of funds for the construction of works and other purposes according to the approved program

Tungabhadra Board

  • The Tungabhadra Board was constituted in 1953.
  • The Board consists of representations from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and Government of India.
  • In the discharge of its assigned functions, the Board exercises powers of a state government.
  • It makes rules for the conduct of its own business.

Upper Yamuna River Board

  • Upper Yamuna River Board (UYRB) is a subordinate office under this Ministry.
  • The Board was constituted in 1994 with Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and National Capital Territory of Delhi as its measure.
  • It consists of Member, Central Water Commission and one nominee each from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and National Capital Territory of Delhi.
  • Main function:
    • To regulate the allocation of available flows amongst the beneficiary states and also monitoring the return flows
    • Monitoring conserving and upgrading the quality of surface and ground water
    • Over viewing plans for watershed management

Brahmaputra Board

  • Brahmaputra Board, an autonomous statutory body was set up and started functioning in 1982.
  • The jurisdiction of Brahmaputra Board includes both Brahmaputra and Barak valley and covers all the states of the North Eastern Region, Sikkim, and Northern part of West Bengal falling under Brahmaputra basin.
  • The major functions of the Board are to carry out survey and investigation and to prepare Master Plan for control of flood, bank erosion and improvement of drainage congestion, development, and utilization of water resources of the Brahmaputra and Barak River system for irrigation, hydropower, navigation and for other beneficial purposes.

Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award

  • The Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) was constituted in 1969 to adjudicate upon the water dispute pertaining to river Narmada.
  • The tribunal has ordered setting up of machinery for implementing its directions and decisions.
  • Accordingly, the Central Government framed the Narmada Water Scheme interalia constituting the Narmada Control Authority (NCA).

Krishna River Management Board

  • Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) was constituted in 2014 with autonomous status under this Ministry.
  • The functions of the Board are:
    • Regulation of supply of water from the projects to the respective states having regard to: awards granted by the Tribunals constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956
    • Any agreement entered into or arrangement made covering the Andhra Pradesh Government and any other state or union territory
    • Making an appraisal of any proposal for construction of new projects on Godavari or Krishna rivers and giving technical clearance, after satisfying that such projects do not negatively impact the availability of water as per the awards of the Tribunals constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 for the projects already completed or taken up before the appointed day

Polavaram Project Authority

  • Polavaram Irrigation Project is a multi-purpose irrigation project which is on the river Godavari near Ramayyapeta village, where the river emerges out of the last range of the Eastern Ghats and enters the plains in West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It envisages the construction of a dam to create an ultimate irrigation potential of 2.91 lakh ha.
  • The project also envisages a generation of 960MW of hydro power, drinking water supply to a population of 28.50 lakh in 540 villages.

Indo-Bangladesh Water Resources Cooperation

  • An Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is functioning since 1972 with a view to maintaining liaison in order to ensure most effective joint efforts in maximizing the benefits from common river systems.
  • A Treaty was signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh in 1996.
  • As per the Treaty, the Ganga/Ganges waters are being shared at Farakka (which is the last control structure on the river in India) during the lean period, from 1st January to 31st May every year, on the 10-daily basis as per the formula provided in the Treaty.
  • The validity of the Treaty is 30 years.

India Nepal Water Resource Cooperation

  • The management of floods due to the rivers flowing into India from Nepal has been a concern and the related issues are discussed in the existing Indo-Nepal bilateral mechanisms comprising:
    • Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources (JMCWR)
    • Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR)
    • Joint Standing Technical Committee (JSTC)
    • Joint Committee on Inundation of Flood Management (JCIFM)
    • Joint Committee on Kosi-Gandak Projects (JCKGP).

Indus Waters Treaty

  • Under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, India and Pakistan have each created a permanent post of Commissioner for Indus Waters.
  • Each Commissioner is the representative of his government and serves as a regular channel of communication on all matters relating to the implementation of the Treaty.
  • The two Commissioners together form the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC).

National Water Development Agency

  • The National Water Development Agency was set up in 1982 to study the feasibility of the links under the peninsular component of the national perspective plan.
  • The NWDA is fully funded by the Government of India.
  • Its present functions include:
    • To carry out detailed survey and investigations of possible reservoir sites and interconnecting  links in order to establish the feasibility of the proposal of peninsular river development and Himalayan river development components forming part of the National Perspective for Water Resources Development
    • To carry out detailed studies about the quantum of water in various peninsular river systems and Himalayan river systems which can be transferred to other basins/states after meeting the reasonable needs of the basin/states in the foreseeable future
    • To undertake/construct/repair/renovate/rehabilitate/ implement the projects either on its own or through an appointed agency/ organization/PSU or company and the projects forming part of interlinking of rivers, for completion of projects falling under PMKSY.

National Institute of Hydrology

  • The NIH, established in 1978 as an autonomous organization under this Ministry, is a premier R&D institute in the country to undertake, aid, promote and coordinate basic, applied and strategic research on all aspects of hydrology and water resources development.

Water and Power Consultancy Services

  • To utilize the expertise of the engineers who had carried out pioneering work and to share the knowledge and experience with other developing countries and in turn earning foreign currency Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) was established in 1969.
  • WAPCOS provided opportunities to Indian engineers to work in diverse geographical and climatic regions thereby enhancing India’s knowledge and expertise.

Minor Irrigation and Water Bodies Census

  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Rationalization of Minor Irrigation Statistics (RMIS) was launched in 1987-88 in the Ministry of Water Resources, with cent percent assistance to the states/UTs.
  • During the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the RMIS scheme was converted as one of the components of the Central Sector Scheme - Development of Water Resources Information System (DWRIS).
  • In 2017-18, the scheme was renamed as the “Irrigation Census” and brought under the umbrella scheme,’ Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchai Yojana and other Schemes’.
  • The main objective of the Irrigation Census scheme is to build up a comprehensive and reliable database in the Minor Irrigation (MI) sector for effective planning and policymaking.


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