Water Resources in India – UPSC GS1

Is India facing a water-stressed situation?
  • India has 16% of the world population, but only 4% of freshwater resources.
  • Water availability in the country was about 5,000 cubic metres per capita per year at the time of independence. It was greater than what was necessary.
  • The global norm for a water-stress situation is 1700 cubic meters of water available per person.
  • Per Capita availability of Water in India, as per Central Water Commission estimates 1,486 cubic metres for 2021, while the World Bank estimates 1,100 cubic metres, both of which are below the world average.
Reasons behind the water-stressed situation in India:
  • Population explosion
  • Inefficient collection of water and its inefficient use (such as in agriculture).
Possible solutions to overcome water stress situation-
  • Need to sort inter-state issues and required well define water rights (contrast surface water rights with groundwater rights).
  • Water conservation is absolutely necessary to reduce extreme pressure from groundwater and to supply water for consumption.
  • Rework irrigation and cropping patterns: There is a need to employ agricultural practices such as planting crops that require less water, setting up better irrigation systems, and developing farm-based water conservation structures.
  • Water can be correctly priced, environmental regulations can be revamped, local capacity can be developed, and water user groups can be established.