Managing River Water Wastage

Author : CA A. K. Jain



India, blessed with a myriad of rivers, faces a paradoxical challenge on water front. In spite of abundant water resources, yet rampant wastage of water is leading to a significant portion flowing into the sea untapped. This squandering of river water not only poses ecological threats but also serves as a formidable obstacle to the nation's economic development. Understanding this issue is crucial for devising sustainable solutions that harness this invaluable resource for India's progress.

Historical Water Management

Mughal Period : The Mughal emperors of India implemented several schemes and initiatives to improve water availability, reflecting their understanding of the critical importance of water management for agriculture, urban needs, and overall prosperity. Here are some notable efforts:

• Nahr-i-Bihisht (Canal of Paradise) : Built by Emperor Shah Jahan, this canal was an extension of an older canal constructed by Firuz Shah Tughlaq. It provided irrigation to the regions around Delhi and enhanced agricultural productivity.

• Shah Nahr (Shah's Canal) : Another significant canal commissioned by Shah Jahan, this one specifically aimed at supplying water to the city of Shahjahanabad (modern-day Old Delhi).

• Baolis (Stepwells) : Baolis were commonly constructed during the Mughal era. These stepwells were not only functional water reservoirs but also architecturally significant structures that provided a means to access groundwater. Notable examples include the Agrasen ki Baoli in Delhi and the Rajon ki Baoli, also in Delhi, which were either commissioned or renovated under Mughal patronage.

• Gardens and Waterworks : Mughal gardens, such as those in Kashmir (e.g., Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh), were designed with intricate waterworks, including fountains and canals, which were fed by natural springs and rivers. These gardens demonstrated sophisticated knowledge of hydraulics and were used to enhance both aesthetic and functional aspects of water usage. The Mughal tradition of garden construction often incorporated water channels (rills), water cascades, and reflective pools, which helped in water management and maintaining the microclimate.

• Dams and Reservoirs : The Mughals built and maintained various dams and reservoirs to store rainwater and river water, ensuring a steady supply during dry periods. An example is the Anasagar Lake in Ajmer, which was expanded and beautified by the Mughals.

• Urban Water Supply Systems : In cities such as Agra and Delhi, the Mughals developed sophisticated urban water supply systems that included the construction of aqueducts and water distribution networks. These systems ensured that water from distant sources was brought into the cities and distributed efficiently.

• Rehabilitation and Extension of Existing Waterworks : The Mughals often took up the task of rehabilitating and extending pre-existing water management systems built by earlier dynasties, thus ensuring continuity and improvement in water supply. For instance, Emperor Akbar restored and expanded the older irrigation systems in the Punjab region, enhancing agricultural output.

These efforts by the Mughal emperors not only improved water availability but also left a lasting legacy in terms of water management infrastructure, many elements of which continue to be of historical and cultural significance today.

British Period : There weren't many major schemes implemented specifically by the British Raj to improve water availability in India. In 1901, the British government established the Irrigation Commission to investigate irrigation practices and recommend improvements. The commission's work led to the development of new irrigation canals and the standardization of canal design.

Their primary focus was on irrigation for cash crops, rather than overall water management. However, there were some developments during this period that laid the groundwork for future water management projects. Some of the notable schemes and projects executed during British rule to improve water availability included,

• Ganga Canal Project : Started in 1842, this was one of the largest canal projects in Uttar Pradesh. Upper Ganga Canal in 1854 was further an extension of the Ganga Canal to further enhanced irrigation facilities in the region.

• Sirhind Canal : Started in 1882, this was one of the largest canal projects in Punjab.The canal was built to improve irrigation in the fertile plains of Punjab, supporting agriculture and improving water availability.

• Periyar Project : Started in 1895, this was one of the largest canal projects inTamil Nadu . This project involved diverting water from the Periyar River in Kerala to the Vaigai River basin in Tamil Nadu to support irrigation in the arid regions of Madurai and surrounding districts.

• Mettur Dam : Started in 1925 this was one of the largest canal projects in Tamil Nadu . This dam was built across the River Cauvery to provide irrigation water for the fertile delta regions, as well as to supply drinking water and generate hydroelectric power.

• Sutlej Valley Project : Started in Early 20th centuryin Punjab this was a comprehensive irrigation scheme to utilize the waters of the Sutlej River for agriculture and irrigation.

• Nira Canal : Started in 1880 this was one of the largest canal projects in Maharashtra . This canal project was aimed at improving irrigation in the Deccan region, particularly for sugarcane cultivation.

These projects reflect the British administration's efforts to develop infrastructure for irrigation and water management, thereby supporting agriculture and mitigating water scarcity issues in various regions of India.

Magnitude of the Problem

 India's rivers are the lifeblood of its agriculture, industry, and communities. However, inefficient water management practices result in a staggering amount of water being wasted annually. According to reports, around 40% of India's total river sweet water potential remains untapped, ultimately cascading into the sea without serving any productive purpose. This wastage not only undermines water security but also hampers crucial sectors of the economy.

Globally, rivers discharge an estimated 36,000 cubic kilometres (km³) of fresh water into the oceans annually [Frontiers in Marine Science, 2022]. This breaks down to approximately 98.6 km³ per day. The Bay of Bengal contributes over half (around 2,950 km³/year) of the freshwater entering the Indian Ocean [Wikipedia - Indian Ocean].

For the Indian Ocean, several major rivers contribute significant volumes of freshwater, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus, Godavari, Krishna, and others. While comprehensive and precise daily discharge rates for each river might not be readily available in a consolidated format, there are estimates for annual discharges:

• Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna: Approximately 1,350 km³ per year.
• Indus: Approximately 240 km³ per year.
• Godavari: Approximately 110 km³ per year.
• Krishna: Approximately 78 km³ per year.

By adding up these annual discharges and converting them to a daily rate, we can get an approximate idea:
• Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna: 1,350 km³/year ≈ 3.70 km³/day
• Indus: 240 km³/year ≈ 0.66 km³/day
• Godavari: 110 km³/year ≈ 0.30 km³/day
• Krishna: 78 km³/year ≈ 0.21 km³/day

Summing these major contributions gives an approximate total of about 4.87 km³/day. This is a simplified calculation and does not account for all rivers or seasonal variations which can significantly alter discharge rates.

Impact on Economic Development

The squandering of river water directly impacts various sectors critical for economic growth:

Agriculture : Agriculture, employing a significant portion of India's workforce, heavily relies on water for irrigation. Wastage of river water means reduced availability for farming, leading to lower crop yields, decreased farmer incomes, and diminished food security.

Industry : Industries, ranging from manufacturing to power generation, require substantial water supplies. Inefficient water management not only escalates operational costs but also hampers the potential for industrial expansion and innovation, hindering economic progress.

Urban Development : Rapid urbanization exacerbates water demand in cities. Wastage of river water contributes to water scarcity in urban areas, impeding infrastructure development, and urban growth.

Environment : Apart from its economic implications, river water wastage exacerbates environmental degradation. Reduced river flow disrupts aquatic ecosystems, jeopardizing biodiversity and ecosystem services crucial for sustainable development.

Solutions for Sustainable Water Management

 Addressing the issue of river water wastage requires a multifaceted approach integrating policy reforms, technological innovations, and community participation:

Water Governance Reforms : Strengthening water governance frameworks to promote equitable distribution, efficient utilization, and conservation of water resources is imperative. Implementing water pricing mechanisms, promoting water-saving practices, and enforcing regulations to prevent water pollution are essential steps.

Infrastructure Investment : Investing in infrastructure for water storage, distribution, and management is crucial for optimizing water utilization. Building reservoirs, modernizing irrigation systems, and implementing rainwater harvesting initiatives can help harness river water more effectively.

Technology Adoption : Embracing innovative technologies such as drip irrigation, precision farming, and water recycling systems can enhance water efficiency across sectors. Remote sensing and data analytics can also aid in monitoring water usage and identifying areas for improvement.

Public Awareness and Participation : Raising awareness about the importance of water conservation and fostering community participation in water management initiatives are vital. Engaging stakeholders, including farmers, industries, and local communities, can foster collective action towards sustainable water use.

Government Action Plan

The government of India has implemented various measures to prevent water wastage and increase water conservation efforts. Here are some initiatives along with facts, figures, and examples:

Jal Shakti Abhiyan (Water Power Mission) : The Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), Launched in 2019, this mission aims to conserve water by focusing on rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional water bodies, and recharge of groundwater, watershed development and aforestation .

JSA initially targeted 256 districts with 1592 water-stressed blocks. It later expanded to encompass all districts (rural and urban) under the "Catch the Rain" (CTR) campaign launched in 2021.As of January 2022, over 24 crore saplings have been planted under this initiative, leading to the restoration of water bodies and increased groundwater levels in many regions. Over 4.7 lakh rainwater harvesting structures were created or renovated during the initial phase of the campaign .The campaign witnessed significant community involvement, with around 75,000 volunteers participating in various activities.

The Jal Shakti Abhiyan is a commendable initiative towards water conservation in India. While initial successes are evident, a more data-driven approach, coupled with robust long-term planning and resource allocation, is necessary to ensure the program's lasting impact on national water security.

National Water Mission : This mission, launched in 2011, aims to ensure the integrated management of water resources across the country. The mission focuses on promoting water use efficiency through regulatory mechanisms and incentives. For example, industries are encouraged to adopt water-efficient technologies through incentives and penalties for excessive water usage. By 2022, the mission aims to reduce water consumption by 20% through various conservation measures.

According to a 2021 report by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, as of 2023, water use efficiency in agriculture has improved by approximately 10-12% in areas where these technologies have been adopted. To encourage stakeholders, the NWM has instituted the National Water Awards, recognizing excellence in water management across different categories, fostering competition and innovation.

The National Water Mission represents a significant step towards sustainable water management in India. However, the program faces challenges with implementation, data collection, and addressing the root causes of water scarcity. A more data-driven approach, coupled with a focus on behavioral change, improved water governance, and sustainable financing, is necessary to achieve the NWM's long-term goals.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) : Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) is a flagship initiative launched by the Government of India in July 2015. The scheme aims to improve irrigation coverage and ensure efficient water usage in agriculture. Its primary objective is to enhance water availability and improve agricultural productivity through various components, including Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Per Drop More Crop (PDMC), and Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP).

Since its inception, PMKSY has completed several major and medium irrigation projects. By 2023, 99 prioritized projects under AIBP were targeted for completion, aiming to provide irrigation benefits to about 76.03 lakh hectares of land. PMKSY dashboards report a rise in micro-irrigated area from 50.6 million hectares (ha) in 2014-15 to 111.7 million ha in 2022-23 (source: PMKSY website).The government allocated substantial funds for PMKSY. For instance, in the financial year 2020-21, about INR 4,000 crores were allocated, with significant portions directed towards AIBP and PDMC.

The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana has made significant strides in improving irrigation coverage and agricultural productivity in India. The scheme's achievements in expanding micro-irrigation and completing key projects highlight its potential to transform Indian agriculture. However, challenges such as project delays, financial underutilization, and uneven technological adoption need to be addressed to realize its full potential. Future efforts should focus on streamlining project implementation, ensuring effective utilization of funds, and promoting equitable technological access to ensure that every farmer benefits from the initiative.

Rain Water Harvesting Mandate: Rain Water Harvesting Yojana (RWHY) is an initiative aimed at addressing the water scarcity issues in India by promoting the collection and storage of rainwater for future use. Several states in India have made rain water harvesting mandatory for both residential and commercial buildings. For example, Tamil Nadu has made it compulsory for all new buildings to have rainwater harvesting structures. Failure to comply can result in the denial of planning permissions.

The primary objectives of the Rain Water Harvesting Yojana are augment the groundwater levels, provide a supplementary water supply, reduce urban flooding , promote water conservation. The Yojana has significantly raised awareness about the importance of water conservation. Various states have implemented mandates for rainwater harvesting systems in buildings.

Data from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) indicates that over 4 million structures for rainwater harvesting have been constructed nationwide.

According to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, regions such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Rajasthan have seen noticeable improvements in groundwater levels. Tamil Nadu reported a 10-15% increase in groundwater recharge due to extensive adoption of rainwater harvesting practices.

In cities like Chennai and Bangalore, which are prone to flooding, the implementation of rainwater harvesting systems has contributed to reducing the frequency and severity of urban flooding events. Chennai, for instance, reported a 20% reduction in urban flood incidents in areas with effective rainwater harvesting systems.

Several states have integrated rainwater harvesting into their building codes. For example, in Delhi, all new buildings with an area of 100 square meters or more are required to install rainwater harvesting systems.

The success of the Yojana varies widely across different states. States like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh lag in implementation due to insufficient funding and lack of public awareness. Data shows that only 30% of the planned rainwater harvesting projects in Maharashtra have been completed.A significant number of rainwater harvesting systems fall into disrepair due to poor maintenance. A survey by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) found that 40% of installed systems were non-functional due to clogging and structural damage. The Yojana has contributed to an increase in water availability in water-scarce regions. For example, in Tamil Nadu, the availability of water per capita increased from 900 cubic meters in 2015 to 1,200 cubic meters in 2020. As of 2023, approximately 4 million rainwater harvesting structures have been built across India, covering both urban and rural areas. This is a significant increase from the 1.5 million structures reported in 2010.

The Rain Water Harvesting Yojana has made commendable progress in promoting water conservation and enhancing groundwater levels in various parts of India. However, its success is unevenly distributed, with significant disparities in implementation and maintenance across different states. While urban areas have benefitted substantially, rural regions continue to face challenges in adopting and maintaining these systems.

For the Yojana to achieve its full potential, it is crucial to address the inconsistencies in implementation, ensure regular maintenance of rainwater harvesting systems, and improve data collection and monitoring mechanisms. Strengthening public awareness campaigns and providing adequate funding and technical support to lagging regions will also be essential steps towards making rainwater harvesting a sustainable and effective solution for India's water scarcity issues.

Water Budgeting and Management : The government has been promoting water budgeting and efficient water management practices in agriculture. Through initiatives like the Atal Bhujal Yojana, efforts are made to improve ground water management and reduce wastage.

The Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY), launched in 2019, is a central sector scheme aimed at sustainable groundwater management with an outlay of ₹6,000 crores, funded equally by the Government of India and the World Bank. The scheme focuses on community participation and targets water-stressed areas in seven states: Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.The scheme has significantly raised awareness among local communities about groundwater management.

ABY emphasizes creating Water Security Plans (WSPs) through community involvement. In Rajasthan, about 82% of the WSPs were approved by the Quality Council of India .There have been positive trends in groundwater levels in certain areas. For instance, in Rajasthan's Kota district, the declining groundwater levels during pre-monsoon periods were reversed (CEEW). Similarly, in Nonavinakere, Karnataka, groundwater levels improved significantly from 16.6 meters below ground level in 2016 to 5.46 meters in 2022.

The scheme has strengthened institutional frameworks and capacity building at the village level, which is crucial for the long-term sustainability of water resources management.

Despite promoting efficient water use practices, the scheme has not achieved significant progress in changing cropping patterns, which is essential for long-term water sustainability. Only around 41% of VWSC members acknowledged the potential for changing cropping patterns, but practical changes have been minimal (CEEW).

The Atal Bhujal Yojana has made commendable progress in raising community awareness and promoting sustainable groundwater management practices. However, challenges such as data inaccuracies, limited practical impact on crop patterns, and initial implementation delays need to be addressed to enhance the scheme's effectiveness. Continuous monitoring, capacity building, and ensuring accurate data reporting are crucial for the long-term success of the scheme.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) : The National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) was launched by the Government of India with the primary objective of improving the water quality of major rivers through comprehensive pollution abatement works. Initially focusing on the Ganga River through the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985, the program was extended to other rivers across the country in subsequent phases.

The main objectives of the NRCP include interception and diversion of sewage,treatment of wastewater, riverfront development, prevention of pollution from industries, public awareness and participation, achievements and Successes. The NRCP has achieved several milestones since its inception.

The program has been implemented in 190 towns along 41 rivers in 20 states. The total sanctioned cost of the projects is approximately INR 8,200 crores.

Sewage Treatment Capacity : The NRCP has created a significant amount of sewage treatment capacity. As of recent data, around 5,000 million liters per day (MLD) of sewage treatment capacity has been added.

Public Awareness : There has been considerable success in raising public awareness about river pollution. Initiatives such as 'Nirmal Ganga Sahbhagita' and other community-led projects have been launched to encourage public participation.

Despite these achievements, the NRCP has faced numerous challenges and has several areas of failure. For instance, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reported that only about 37% of the sewage generated in urban areas is treated, leaving a substantial volume of untreated sewage to pollute the rivers. Many projects have faced delays or have remained incomplete due to budgetary constraints. There have been issues related to coordination between various state and central government agencies, leading to delays and inefficiencies.

The NRCP has made some progress in addressing the pollution of India's rivers, particularly in terms of creating sewage treatment infrastructure and raising public awareness. However, its impact has been limited by several significant challenges, including inadequate treatment of sewage, industrial pollution, financial constraints, and administrative inefficiencies. For the NRCP to achieve its goals, there needs to be a stronger focus on ensuring the maintenance of infrastructure, improving inter-agency coordination, securing consistent funding, and enhancing regulatory enforcement against industrial pollution. A comprehensive and integrated approach is essential for the sustainable conservation of India's rivers.

Inter Linking of Rivers : The Government of India's project of linking various rivers, known as the National River Linking Project (NRLP) or the National Perspective Plan (NPP), aims to interconnect India's rivers through a series of canals and reservoirs. The main objectives of this ambitious project include mitigating the impact of droughts and floods, addressing the uneven distribution of water resources, and providing water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial use across the country. The NRLP is divided into two main components:

• Himalayan Component : This involves linking rivers originating in the Himalayan region to those in the northern plains. Key links include the Ganga-Yamuna link, among others.
• Peninsular Component : This focuses on linking rivers in the southern part of India, such as the Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery link.

The project has seen some progress in recent years, but it has not been fully implemented. Some key links that have seen development include:
• Ken-Betwa Link: This is the first project under the NRLP to receive substantial attention and funding. It aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken River to the Betwa River to provide irrigation and drinking water to drought-prone areas of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
• Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada Links: These projects are in various stages of planning and approval, aiming to address water scarcity in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Unquantifiable Sweet River Water Falling In Indian Ocean

We lose unquantifiable sweet river water every day to Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. Calculating the precise amount of sweet river water falling into the ocean in India on a daily basis would involve complex hydrological modelling and data analysis, considering the numerous rivers and their flow rates across the country. However, as per the information available:

India has several major rivers, such as the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yamuna, Godavari, and Krishna, among others, which contribute significant freshwater flow into the surrounding oceans.

The exact volume of freshwater discharge into the ocean varies depending on factors such as seasonal variations in rainfall, snowmelt from the Himalayas, and human activities like damming and water extraction for irrigation and consumption. A systematic plan to hold this sweet water from falling into the ocean can solve the water problem for the entire country for many years to come. Continuous seepage of water from Water reservoirs created along with the entire river flow route will also automatically raise ground water level and recharge the underground countrywide natural network of water routes without any additional cost or human effort. It is worth noting that Jodhpur city in Thar Desert is floating on water because of continuous seepage of water from Rajasthan Canal project and Kailana Lake.

The wastage of river water in India represents not only a significant loss of a precious resource but also a formidable impediment to the nation's economic development. Addressing this challenge requires concerted efforts from policymakers, businesses, communities, and individuals alike. By adopting holistic water management strategies and fostering a culture of water conservation, India can unlock the full potential of its rivers, paving the way for sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Key Persons Who Shaped Indian Water Management

Due to the long history of India, there are many figures throughout time who played a role in managing the country's resources and rivers. Here are some of the prominent examples.

Rajendra Chola (1014-1044 CE) : This Chola emperor is known for his vast empire and innovative water management techniques. He built an extensive network of canals, lakes, and reservoirs throughout South India, including the Grand Anicut (also known as the Kallanai) on the Kaveri River. This dam, constructed around 1000 CE, is one of the oldest functional dams in the world and is still in use today. The network of canals diverted water for irrigation, reducing dependence on monsoons and leading to increased agricultural productivity.

Rajaram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) : A key figure in the Bengal Renaissance, Roy advocated for social reforms and environmental consciousness. He campaigned against deforestation, a major concern at the time, and emphasized the importance of protecting the Ganges River, a vital resource for millions. His efforts helped raise awareness about the need for sustainable water resource management.

Arthur Cotton (1803-1879) : He is renowned primarily for his work as a British engineer in India, where he played a pivotal role in the development of irrigation and water management systems. Cotton is best known for his extensive work on irrigation projects in South India, particularly in the Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh). His efforts significantly improved agricultural productivity and water supply in the region.One of his most notable achievements was the Godavari Delta irrigation system. He designed and implemented a series of anicuts (weirs) and canals that transformed the delta into a highly productive agricultural area. This project is often regarded as a masterpiece of engineering and has had a lasting impact on the region's economy and agriculture.Cotton also worked on the Kaveri River, designing and overseeing the construction of dams and canals to enhance irrigation. The Kaveri Delta became another testament to his engineering prowess.He pioneered the use of anicuts in Indian river systems. These structures helped control water flow and manage distribution, leading to more efficient irrigation and better management of water resources.

Sir Ganga Ram (1851-1927) : He was a prominent civil engineer and philanthropist known for his significant contributions to irrigation and water management in India, particularly in the Punjab region. His innovative engineering projects and dedication to improving agricultural productivity have left a lasting legacy.

Sir Ganga Ram is best known for his pioneering work in irrigation engineering. One of his major achievements was the development of the canal system in the Punjab region. He played a crucial role in the design and construction of the Upper Chenab Canal and the Lower Bari Doab Canal, which significantly enhanced the irrigation infrastructure of the region. His irrigation projects facilitated the conversion of large areas of arid land into productive agricultural land. This led to increased agricultural output and improved the livelihoods of countless farmers in the region.In addition to irrigation, Sir Ganga Ram also worked on drainage systems to prevent waterlogging and salinity, which are common problems in irrigated areas. His work helped maintain soil health and ensured sustainable agricultural practices.

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) : Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, laid the foundation for the country's major water management and irrigation projects. He championed large-scale infrastructure projects to drive economic development and alleviate poverty. Nehru initiated the construction of several major dams, including the Bhakra-Nangal Dam on the Sutlej River and the Hirakud Dam on the Mahanadi River. These projects were part of his vision to harness India's river systems for irrigation, flood control, and hydroelectric power. Nehru famously referred to dams as the "temples of modern India," emphasizing their significance in the nation-building process.

K. L. Rao (1902-1986) : K. L. Rao, an eminent engineer and politician, made significant contributions to India's water management and irrigation projects. As the Minister of Irrigation and Power, he played a key role in the planning and execution of several major irrigation and hydroelectric projects. Rao was instrumental in the development of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam on the Krishna River, which is one of the largest masonry dams in the world. His expertise and leadership helped in the formulation and implementation of policies aimed at optimizing water resources for agricultural and industrial purposes.An Indian engineer and politician, Rao is known for his contributions to the Green Revolution, which modernized agriculture and increased food production. He also played a key role in building the Hirakud Dam, a major multipurpose project on the Mahanadi River for irrigation, power generation, and flood control.

Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966) : Lal Bahadur Shastri, who succeeded Nehru as Prime Minister, continued to prioritize water management and agricultural development. His tenure saw the promotion of the Green Revolution, which involved the adoption of high-yielding variety seeds, irrigation, and modern agricultural techniques. Shastri's government emphasized the importance of effective irrigation systems to increase agricultural productivity and ensure food security. This era saw an expansion of irrigation facilities and the improvement of water management practices to support the agricultural sector.

Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) : Indira Gandhi, the first and only female Prime Minister of India, continued to prioritize water resource management during her tenure. She oversaw the implementation of several key irrigation projects and river management schemes. Gandhi's government focused on large-scale irrigation projects to boost agricultural production and support rural development. Notable projects during her tenure include the initiation of the National Water Policy and the establishment of the Central Water Commission, which played a crucial role in coordinating and managing water resources across the country.

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam( 1931-2015 ) : Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, strongly advocated for the interlinking of rivers in India. This ambitious project aimed to address the issues of water scarcity and floods by connecting various rivers to balance water distribution across regions.

Manmohan Singh (1932-) : Manmohan Singh, India's Prime Minister from 2004 to 2014, emphasized the importance of sustainable water management in the context of economic development and climate change. His government launched the National Water Mission as part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, aiming to conserve water, minimize wastage, and ensure equitable distribution across various regions. Singh's administration also focused on rejuvenating traditional water bodies and promoting watershed management programs to enhance groundwater recharge and improve water availability for irrigation.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya (1861-1962) : Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was an Indian engineer and statesman who played a pivotal role in the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam across the Cauvery River in Karnataka. This dam is crucial for irrigation and water supply in the region.

Rajendra Singh 1959- : Known as the "Waterman of India," Rajendra Singh has been instrumental in reviving several rivers in Rajasthan through traditional water conservation methods and community engagement. His work has led to the rejuvenation of rivers like the Arvari, Ruparel, and Sarsa.

Narendra Modi (1950-) : Narendra Modi, the current Prime Minister of India, has prioritized water management and irrigation through several key initiatives. His government launched the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, a campaign for water conservation and management, focusing on rainwater harvesting, watershed development, and intensive afforestation. The Namami Gange Programme, aimed at cleaning and rejuvenating the Ganges River, is another significant initiative under Modi's leadership. Additionally, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana aims to expandirrigation coverage and improve water use efficiency in agriculture, ensuring "Har Khet Ko Pani" (Water to Every Field).


These initiatives reflect the government's commitment to reducing water wastage and conserving water resources, thereby preventing excessive flow into the ocean. While progress is being made, continuous efforts and community participation are essential to achieve sustainable water management goals.

Despite endless planning, schemes, projects and expenditure of uncountable billions of scares rupees, the administrative, bureaucratic, governmental performance on water front since independence is far from satisfactory. If the god gifted sweet river water falling into the Indian Ocean can be saved and utilised, India can become one of the most prosperous nation in the world, without so many auxiliary plans and programmes. This does not require even a rocket science and not at all difficult but vested interest in keeping India poor and starving will never let it happen. This is the worst misfortune of our country.

Development of water bodies, systematic collection and distribution system of water along with the entire route of the all the rivers can make the whole country fertile and green. This will also improve the deteriorating underground water level across the country, without spending a penny.

Many irrigation projects faced significant delays due to bureaucratic hurdles, land acquisition issues, and insufficient funding at the state level. As of 2021, only about 60% of the targeted projects were completed.


**********Disclaimer: The information and statistics presented in this article have been compiled from various sources deemed reliable. However, readers are advised to independently verify the accuracy and relevance of the data before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided herein. The author and publisher do not assume any responsibility or liability or any consequences resulting from reliance on the information presented in this article.


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