India identifies water as the most critical component of life support system. The total catchment area is 252.8 million hectare (mha), covering more than 75% of the total area of the country. The adaptation strategies for the water sector focus on enhancing efficient use of water, ensuring access and tackling the adverse impact of Climate Change. The trans-boundary and regional issues also need to be factored in.


1) The main objective of India’s National Water Mission (NWM) is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”. One of the key goals of the mission is to enhance water use efficiency by 20%.


2) Groundwater is the major component of the total available water resources. Rapid expansion of groundwater use in India in the last three decades has resulted in a steep decline in the groundwater table in vast areas of the country. Rainwater harvesting, which offers a promising solution to replenish and recharge the groundwater is a significant component of Watershed Development Programme, taken up under different schemes of the central and state governments. Several municipal authorities, including Delhi have amended their existing building bye-laws, making it compulsory for every large house or hotel (200 yards or more in area) to undertake rainwater harvesting.


3) Neeranchal is a recent programme by Government to give additional impetus to watershed development in the country.


4) Another important initiative relating to rivers is the National Mission for Clean Ganga which seeks to rejuvenate the river along its length of more than 2,500 km through multifarious activities such as pollution inventorization, assessment and surveillance and laying of sewage networks, treatment plants etc.


5) The total flood prone area in the country is about 45.64 million ha. Existing flood management mechanisms involve both Central and State Government.


6) Government of India has also set up the National River Conservation Directorate for conservation of rivers, lakes and wetlands in the country and improving the water quality which covers stretches of 40 rivers in 190 towns spread over 20 States.

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