The average annual per capita water availability in the country, as per 2011 census, was 1545 cubic meters; it is estimated to go down to 1340 cubic meters by the year 2025. State wise details of per capita water availability in the country are not maintained by the Central Government.
The availability of water resources is limited, but demand for water in the country is increasing due to increasing population, industrialization, urbanization and changing lifestyle. As a result water has become a relatively scarce resource in some areas of the country. A per-capita water availability of less than 1700 cubic meters is considered as water stressed condition, whereas per-capita water availability below 1000 cubic meters is considered as a water scarcity condition.
Several measures for meeting water crisis through augmenting, conserving and using water resources more efficiently are undertaken by the State Governments. The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation provides technical and financial assistance to the State Governments in this regard through various schemes and programmes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme, Scheme for Repair, Renovation & Restoration of Water-bodies etc.
Central Ground Water Board, under this Ministry has prepared a conceptual document entitled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India” during the year 2013 envisaging construction of 1.11 crore Rainwater Harvesting and Artificial Recharge structures in the country to harness 85 BCM (Billion Cubic Meters) of water. The augmented ground water resources will enhance the availability of water for drinking, domestic, industrial and irrigation purposes. The Master Plan has been circulated to all State Governments for implementation.
Water conservation and water harvesting structures to augment ground water constitute a special focus area for MGNREGA works and about 2/3rd of the expenditure is directly related to construction of such structures.Central Government has launched the National Water Mission with the objective of conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management.
The National Water Policy, 2012 has been formulated which has made several recommendations for conservation, development and improved management of water resources in the country. Jal Kranti Abhiyan (2015-16 to 2017-18) has been launched in order to consolidate water conservation and management in the country through a holistic and integrated approach involving all stakeholders, making it a mass movement.
Recycle and reuse of water, after treatment to specified standards as well as rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge are being incentivized through various initiatives, programmes/ schemes of the Government. Improved water use efficiency in different sectors such as in irrigation (through micro-irrigation, e.g., drip, sprinkler etc.), industry and households is being encouraged through various initiatives, programmes/ schemes of the Government.
This Ministry has also formulated a National Perspective Plan (NPP) envisaging inter-basin transfer of water. The implementation of NPP would give benefits of approximately 35 million hectare of additional irrigation potential and 34000 mega watts (MW) hydro power generation apart from the incidental benefits of flood moderation, navigation, drinking and industrial water supply, fisheries, salinity and pollution control etc.
This information was given by Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.