Freshwater in India

By: Staff Reporter
Prioritising the future need for water demands stringent laws. It is imperative that a state-driven directive is put in place to ensure adequate and save coverage.

The per capita water availability in the country as a whole is reducing progressively due to an increase in population. The average annual per capita availability of water in the country, taking into consideration the population of the country in the 2001 Census, was 1816 cu m which reduced to 1545 cu m as per the 2011 Census (increase in number of households from 241 in 2001 to 331 million in 2011), making India a water stressed country. Water being a state subject, it is the responsibility of individual states to take necessary measures. The Government of India has launched the National Water Mission in April, 2008, under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) Programme, with main objective as ‘conservation of water, minimising wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within states through integrated water resources development and management’. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation provides financial and technical assistance to states under the centrally sponsored scheme, the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), to supplement their efforts to provide drinking water, increase the water use efficiency by 20 per cent and provide piped drinking water to rural households. As per the Strategic Plan of the Ministry, the goal is to ensure that at least 55 per cent of rural households are provided with 55 litres per capita per day within a distance of 100 metres and that at least 35 per cent of rural households have household tap connections. The number of rural habitations covered by piped drinking water supply schemes as reported by the states on the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry is 477491 (August 2012) – the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh having the largest number of beneficiaries.  The percentage of rural households which have access to piped water, as per Census 2011, is about 30.8 per cent with the states of Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu featuring at the top. In a recent development a draft national water policy was discussed in the 14th National Water Board meeting held in June, 2012. The policy emphasises that ‘Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) taking river basin / sub-basin as a unit, should be the main principle for planning, development and management of water resources’. The on-going schemes like Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP), Command Area Development & Water Management (CADWM) and Repair Renovation, and Restoration(RRR) are being upscaled in the 12th Five Year Plan. The Approach Paper for the Twelfth Five Year Plan has suggested for full integration of CADWM &AIBP so that they proceed on a common time frame.

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