India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. The crisis is only going to get worse. By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual ~6% loss in the country’s GDP. A s per the report of National Commission for Integrated Water Resource Development of MoWR, the water requirement by 2050 in high use scenario is likely to be a milder 1,180 BCM, whereas the present-day availability is 695 BCM. The total availability of water possible in country is still lower than this projected demand, at 1,137 BCM. Thus, there is an imminent need to deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable.
The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has develop ed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in India n states in the face of this growing crisis.
Objectives of the Index
The CWMI is envisioned to bring about much-required improvements in water resource management and conservation in India in a coherent and collaborative manner. The Index will be a public platform that provides an annual snapshot of the water sector status and the water management performance of the different states and UTs in India. The Index will measure both the overall progress mad e by states in water management and the incremental improvement in performance across time. The results of the entire exercise will be used to propel action in the states to improve water outcomes, besides improving data collection and performance monitoring mechanisms. The Index is expected to promote the spirit of 'competitive and cooperative federalism' in the country, and ensure sustainable and effective management of water resources. The data included in the Index will be made publicly available to researchers and entrepreneurs to drive innovation in the sector. The collection and compilation of this strategic dataset is a big step towards addressing the country’s projected water risk and shortfall.
Scope and structure of the Index
Themes and indicators
The Index comprises nine themes (each having an attached weight) with 28 different indicators covering groundwater and surface water restoration, major and medium irrigation, watershed development, participatory irrigation management, on-farm water use, rural and urban water supply, and policy and governance.
The themes and their respective weights are displayed below.
Indicator themes and weights
||Source augmentation and restoration of waterbodies
||Source augmentation (Groundwater)
||Major and medium irrigation — Supply side management
||Watershed development — Supply side management
||Participatory irrigation practices — Demand side management
||Sustainable on - farm water use practices — Demand side management
||Rural drinking water
||Urban water supply and sanitation
||Policy and governance
Categorization of states
For the CWMI, the reporting states were also divided into two special groups - Non-Himalayan states and North-Eastern and Himalayan states, to account for the different hydrological conditions across these groups.
Scope of the report
The report builds on the data collected and provides the results of the CWMI at multiple levels:
- Overall/ comparative analysis across states
- Thematic analysis for each of the nine themes
- Indicator-level analysis
- Select case studies on best practices for water management across states
At each level, the report provides detailed, relevant analyses and insights on state performance across time, appropriate commentary on the broader context and background for the indicators, and key lessons and best practices to be kept in mind going forward.
Ranking of states according to Composite Water Index Scores (FY 16-17)
- Overall, there is large inter-state variation in Water Index scores, but most states have achieved a score below 50 (out of 100) and need to significantly improve their water resource management practices. The Water Index scores for FY 16-17 vary from ~76 (Gujarat) to ~ 26 (Meghalaya) , with the median score being ~49 for Non-Himalayan states and ~31 for North-Eastern and Himalayan states. Gujarat is the highest performer, closely followed by other high performers such as Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Most other states are clustered around the 40-60 band. Seven states have scores between ~ 50-65 (including two North-Eastern and Himalayan states) and have been classified as Medium performers. However, ~60% of states (14 out of 24) have achieved scores below 50 and have been classified as Low performers.
- Most other states are clustered around the 40 - 60 band. S even states have scores between ~ 50 - 65 (including two North-Eastern and Himalayan states) and have been classified as Medium perform ers. However, ~60% of states (14 out of 24) have achieved scores below 50 and have been classified as Low performers. Assam, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, and Meghalaya have the lowest Index scores (in FY 16-17) out of all states, ranging from ~ 26 to 31. This low performance involves low scores across almost all indicator themes, with several states scoring zeroes or not submitting data for as many as seven indicators (out of 28). This is possibly due to a combination of high water availability, which reduces the imminence for water management and policy action, and the limited availability of monetary resources for investment - heavy programmes such as micro-irrigation. On the other hand, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh have high scores, with both performing well in supply-side management (irrigation and watershed development) and water-supply provision (rural and urban).
- Encouragingly, several water-scarce states are the leaders in Index performance. Several of the high and medium performers — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana — are states that have suffered from severe droughts in recent years. The action taken by these states, and their subsequent good performance on the Index, are likely driven by necessity in the face of looming water shortages. This correlation shows, positively, that corrective action is starting in at least some of the areas that need it the most.
- More worryingly, the low performers on the Water Index are home to ~50% of the country’s population, thereby highlighting the significant water risk faced by the country. The low performers are, worryingly, comprised of the populous northern states of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, and others, and are home to over 600 million people. The poor performance of these states on the Index highlights a significant water management risk for the country going forward. Further, these states also account for 20 - 30% of India’s agricultural output. Given the combination of rapidly declining groundwater levels and limited policy action (as indicated by the low Index score), this is also likely to be a significant food security risk for the country going forward.
- Promisingly, a bout 60% (15 out of 24) of the states included in the Index have improved their scores in FY 16-17. The average change in scores from FY 15-16 to FY 16-17, however, has been a modest gain of ~1.8 points. Eight states achieved impressive gains of five points or more in a single year — despite the slow-moving nature of several indicators (such as irrigation potential utilized and area under rain - fed agriculture). Most gains have been led by improvements in restoration of surface water bodies, watershed development activities, and rural water supply provision. Rajasthan (among the Non-Himalayan states) and Meghalaya, Tripura, and Sikkim (among the North-Eastern and Himalayan states) have improved the most, increasing their scores by more than 7.5 points.
- In terms of state rankings, there have been only a few major shifts from the base year (FY 15-16) to FY 16-17, with most states staying roughly within the same performance classification. Rajasthan and Tripura are some of the gainers, with Rajasthan moving up by three places, and Tripura going up to the top of the North-Eastern and Himalayan states. Tripura’s rise has been driven by an increase in the quality of rural water supply and improved geo-tagging of watershed conservation structures under the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP). Rajasthan has improved scores across the indicator theme s of participatory irrigation and source restoration, as discussed above. On the other hand, Odisha has exhibited the largest drop, losing four places in a single year, due to limited improvement in quality of rural water supply and non-achievement of canal lining targets. Uttarakhand has also dropped by two places, due to a decline in the reach and quality of urban and rural water supply provision (vis-à-vis the performance of other states).
For the complete report, click here.
Source : NITI Aayog