Keeping in view the criticality of water for life, the NITI Aayog has prepared a report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) that showed that India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat.
KEY-FINDINGS OF THE REPORT
- Lives affected: Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 2 lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and this crisis is only going to get worse.
- Frequent droughts: Droughts are becoming more frequent, creating severe problems for common people.
- Poor condition of farmers: In India, 53 percent of agriculture is rainfed and farmers depend on monsoon, which created a problem for them.
- Contaminated water: In cases, when water is available, it is likely to be contaminated (up to 70% of water supply), resulting in nearly 2 lakh of deaths each year.
- Inter-state disagreements: Scarcity of water has given rise to inter-state water disagreements, with seven major disputes currently raging, pointing to the fact that limited frameworks and institutions are in place for national water governance.
- The report on the state-wise performance on parameters of water management ranks Gujarat as number one in the reference year 2016-2017:
Rank States 1 Gujarat 2 Madhya Pradesh 3 Andhra Pradesh 4 Karnataka 5 Maharashtra North Eastern and the Himalayan States 1 Tripura 2 Himachal 3 Sikkim 4 Assam In terms of Incremental change in the index (over 2015-16 level) 1 Rajasthan
HOW THIS CRISIS WILL AFFECT FUTURE
- 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 percent loss in the country’s GDP.
- The water requirement by the year 2050 in high use scenario is likely to be a milder 1,180 BCM, whereas the present-day availability is 695 BCM.
COMPOSITE WATER MANAGEMENT INDEX (CWMI)
- The CWMI is the first comprehensive collection of country-wide water data in India. The index is aimed at promoting competitiveness among states, driving them towards effective water governance, and incentivizing improved water management across the country.
- The CWMI comprises 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of groundwater, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy, and governance.
- It uses water data from both central and state sources. The data was collected for two years, the base year of FY 15-16, and FY 16-17, thereby enabling not only a benchmarking of the current water performance of states but also the study of the evolution of this performance across the last two years.
- For the purpose of analysis, the reporting states were divided into two special groups to account for the different hydrological conditions across these groups:
Non-Himalayan States North Eastern and Himalayan States Gujarat Tripura Madhya Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Sikkim Karnataka Assam Maharashtra Nagaland Punjab Uttarakhand Tamil Nadu Meghalaya Telangana Chhattisgarh Rajasthan Goa Kerala Odisha Bihar Haryana Jharkhand
BENEFITS OF THE REPORT
The Index is a major step towards creating a culture of data-based decision-making for water in India, which can encourage ‘competitive and cooperative federalism’ in the country’s water governance and management.
- Effective water management: The NITI Aayog has developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in the Indian States in the face of this growing crisis.
- Participation of all: The CWMI is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States/Union Territories inefficient management of water resources.
- Suitable strategies: It will provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
- The Index and this associated report are expected to:
- Establish a clear baseline and benchmark for state-level performance on key water indicators.
- Uncover and explain how states have progressed on water issues over time, including high-performers and under-performers, thereby inculcating a culture of constructive competition among states.
- Identify areas for deeper engagement and investment on the part of states.
- Eventually, NITI Aayog plans to develop the index into a composite, national-level data management platform for all water resource in India.
SCARCITY& NEED ARE DRIVING POSITIVE ACTION
- Encouragingly, several water-scarce states are the leaders in index performance. Several of high and medium performers have suffered from severe droughts in the recent years.
- The actions 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 some of the areas that need it the most.
THE ROAD AHEAD:
The CWMI is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive scorecard for identifying, targeting, and solving problems in the water sector across the country. Its ranking and scoring system, as well as the collaborative process of the index design and updates, will ensure that the principle of ‘competitive and cooperative federalism’ is actualized in the country’s water management system. Going forward, the Government can amplify its impact by developing such a platform, that can be accessed by researchers, NGOs, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to enable innovation in the broader water ecosystem.