(Last Updated on : 01/07/2011)
India is pregnant with an affluent and huge variety of natural resources, including water are regarded as one of the most essential properties. Its improvement and control largely affects in agricultural output. For a stable environmental and economic development, management of water resources should be integrated as per the National Water Policy, 2002. An annual rainfall of around 4000 km3 occurs in India. The rainfall in India shows very high sequential and spatial inconsistency, though Mousinram in Cherrapunjee
gets the world`s highest rainfall, yet it also experiences water shortages during the other seasons.
The Indian rivers receive a total average annual flow of 1953 km3 per year. It is estimated that entire annual usable ground and surface water resources is around 396 km3 and 690 km3. With improvements in standard of living and growing number of population, demand for water resources has also increased along with reducing availability of water through out the nation. Moreover, due to rising pollution levels, the quality of water resources is also declining. Thus the change in climatic conditions, might affect the annual rainfall and availability of water.
In India, the monsoon period is generally lasts for around three to four months. A vast portion of the nation faces shortage of surface water resources for most part of the year. Even areas like Konkan and Meghalaya
, which receive adequate rainfall, face deficiency during winter and summer months. Although in the coastal and northern plains, water resources are abundant, other regions supply is remarkably insufficient. In general, in particular areas, ground water can be drained from a depth of almost 15 metres. Even water resources that are safe for ingestion can not be provided to most of the villages in the rural areas. Further more, villagers have to cover vast distances to gather water. Thus supply of water for irrigation and agriculture is also inadequate. Total water resources are around 167 million hectare-metres in India, which has been derived after considering the total area and the average annual rainfall around 50 cm. out of this, only 66 million hectare-metres are available for irrigation.
In 1954, surface water exploration programme was instigated and drilling actions were under taken in river basins and in lower Himalayan areas. This programme gained further momentum during the 1990s, with the introduction of open-hole drilling equipments. Drilling was carried on in areas of Arunachal Pradesh
and Jammu and Kashmir. Around 27,500 wells have been established by drilling around the nation. Moreover, numerous wells were drilled to counter water deficiency, particularly in drought prone regions. These well are managed by the State Governments for providing water to the public.
Moreover, canals, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, tanks and other small water bodies form Inland Water resources in India. These are mostly present in the regions of Uttar Pradesh
, Madhya Pradesh
, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu
, Andhra Pradesh
, West Bengal
, amongst others. The entire length of canals and rivers are 31.2 thousand km in Uttar Pradesh and Orissa has the highest total area for salty water bodies.
Around 9.7 million hectare-metres of water was available for agricultural reasons before 1951. But by 1973, almost 18.4 million hectare-meter of water resources was being supplied for agriculture and irrigation. In India, the utilisable ground water resources are considered to be approximately around 40 million hectare-metres. Yet only 10 million hectare-metres are being utilised currently. The residual 30 million hectare-metres are stocked in pipelines for employment.
The Indian water resources are key natural resources, a fundamental human requirement and a valuable asset for the nation. Thus great importance should be given to the proper improvement and competent utilisation of such water resources. Few programmes and policies, such as, policy guidelines, technical examination, sectoral planning, techno-economic appraisal and coordination of projects, have been undertaken by the Government for regulation and growth of water resources. These support particular projects, facilitate exterior assistance and help in solving regional disputes related to water, provide assistance in formation of policies and management of irrigation and expansion and improvement of water resources in India.