Integrated Water Resources Management-Challenges in India

Posted on September 14, 2005

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India is known for its 1 billion plus and-still-growing population at around 2 percent per annum from the latter part of the 20th century. The heavy investments have been made on water supply, management and conservation issues since 80s, but the resulting environmental and socio-economic benefits have been severely limited. Most of its water sources and tributaries are polluted, whereas the ground water in vast areas is suffering from high level of natural contaminants. The easy access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities remains a challenge in India.

About 0.2 million habitations, out of a total of 1.423 million habitation in the country, are estimated to have one or the other, or combination of more than one contaminant in different water sources and their numbers are gradually increasing due to indiscriminate, unscientific and over-exploitation of ground water and surface water sources for different uses. Although water management in India has already been decentralized but the integrated water management and integration in different sectors seems major issue. Despite increasing allocation of financial resources, there are serious concerns around the sustainability of investments made in the water resource sector and integrating water management.

A number of studied has proved the possibilities to initiate and maximize potential benefits through IWRM approach. In India the main management challenge seems not the vision of integrated water resources management but a pragmatic but principled approach that goes through principles of efficiency, equity and sustainability. For full paper you can contact me.