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Surface Water Resources

In India, there are four significant surface water resources. They are rivers, lakes, ponds, and tanks. Surface water is any body of water above....

In India, there are four significant surface water resources. They are rivers, lakes, ponds, and tanks. Surface water is any body of water above ground, including streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, and creeks. The ocean, despite being saltwater, is also considered surface water.

  • In India, there are around 10,360 rivers and their tributaries with a length of more than 1.6 kilometers.
  • The total yearly flow in India’s river basins is estimated to be 1,869 cubic kilometers. However, only roughly 690 cubics (37%) kilometers of accessible surface water can be used.

Quality of Surface Water

  • The water utilization in India is provided by the surface water resources.
  • Hence, the water quality is critical.
  • There are various biological, chemical, and physical tests that determine the quality of the water. 
  • Water quality standards examine electrical conductivity, pH, temperature, phosphorus levels, dissolved oxygen levels, nitrogen levels, and bacteria levels as indicators.
Quality Indicators

Turbidity is a water quality indicator that measures the amount of suspended material in a stream. The worse the water quality, the more turbid the water.

Concerns About Color/Odour

Water takes on a brownish yellow color due to rotting leaves or algae. Natural dissolved organics or gases can give a bad taste and smell.
India’s aesthetic quality of water resources is linked to chemical contaminants such as iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and chloride. Water tainted with dissolved metals has a harsh taste and can stain clothing and plumbing fittings. Chlorides in excess provide an unpleasant salty taste in the water.


Hardness is another criterion for water quality standards. This word refers to dissolved minerals (mostly calcium and magnesium). Minerals induce scale build-up in hot water pipes and obstruct soap lather. Humans are unaffected by hard water.

Protection of Surface Water Sources

Preventing contamination of source water can reduce the cost of treating communal drinking water (especially from surface water sources) before it enters the home and mitigate the hazards to public health. We all live in a watershed, defined as an area that drains into a shared waterway such as a stream, lake, wetlands, or the ocean. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other agencies engage with communities to maintain surface water resources.

Applications of Surface Water Resources
  1. The most common surface water applications are drinking water and other public use, irrigation, and by the thermoelectric power generating industry.
  2. Surface-water resources provided most of the water needed for thermoelectric generation, public supply, agriculture, mining, and industry. 
  3. Surface-water resources provide nearly all of the water consumed in the United States. The remaining 30% was made up of water derived from underground sources.
  4. In 2021, surface-water resources provided around 71% of the freshwater utilized in the United States. 
  5. Groundwater accounted for the remaining 29%. Various purposes, including irrigation and supplying people with drinking water and everyday use, utilize surface water as a valuable natural resource.
Uses of Surface Water:

Also Read : Groundwater Sources

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