State PCS

Edit Template
Edit Template

Water Body Inventory: Promising Initiation, Yet Abundant Discrepancies

Water Bodies

Water Body Inventory : The first census report on India’s surface water bodies is a significant step forward. It provides valuable data that helps us understand the potential of these water bodies in addressing water scarcity and sustainability issues across the country. The report also enables the government and local bodies to evaluate their current state and identify potential threats to their integrity.

An Overview :

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has enumerated approximately 2,424,540 water bodies in the country, with 97.1 percent located in rural areas and only 2.9 percent situated in urban areas.

The top five states in terms of a number of water bodies are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Assam — which constitute around 63 per cent of the total water bodies in the country.

In terms of the quantity of water bodies within urban areas, the top five states are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Tripura. Meanwhile, for rural areas, the leading states are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Assam.

Ponds constitute the largest portion at 59.5% of these water bodies, followed by tanks at 15.7%, reservoirs at 12.1%, water conservation schemes/percolation tanks/check dams at 9.3%, lakes at 0.9%, and other types at 2.5%.

The ownership distribution reveals that 55.2% of water bodies are under private ownership, while the remaining 44.8% are in the public domain.

The census currently records information about the utilization of water bodies across six categories, but it lacks data concerning the quality of water—a significant shortcoming that presents challenges when prioritizing restoration efforts. This issue becomes particularly evident in cases where polluted water bodies receiving industrial discharges are classified as “in use” due to their utilization for irrigation by farmers. Regrettably, this “in use” classification results in inadequate funding for restoration endeavors. Consequently, farmers and invested parties persist in employing contaminated water for irrigation and fishing, thereby endangering both human health and the environment. Many tanks, urban river stretches, and peri-urban lakes, contaminated by domestic and industrial waste, are categorized as “in use” for irrigation and fisheries, thereby posing significant risks to both human health and the environment.

Data and Census reports

Conversely, a majority of human-made lakes and wetlands in urban areas have ceased functioning as irrigation reservoirs, placing them in the “not in use” category. Nonetheless, these reservoirs, wetlands, and lakes serve as hubs for biodiversity, furnishing ecosystem services and biodiversity advantages to local stakeholders. Their potential is significant in urban planning as they can form part of blue-green infrastructure, reintroducing nature to cities. Failing to acknowledge biodiversity and ecosystem services as crucial “in use” functions raises concerns about the revitalization of such water bodies.

To enhance the utility and impact of the census report, it is advisable to encompass data on both the “current usage” and “intended usage” of water bodies. The report should deliver information on the percentage of lakes conforming to water quality standards for their current use, as well as the percentage conforming to the criteria for their designated optimal use. This data would facilitate prioritizing the restoration of water bodies currently in use but posing substantial risks to human health and the environment. Additionally, integrating the data collected about water source statuses from the Jal Jeevan Mission into the census report would further amplify its worth.

In urban regions, the majority of lakes function as environmental assets, sustaining ecosystem services and offering biodiversity advantages. Introducing this category to the roster of uses is imperative for the restoration of robust ecosystems in urban settings. The “indicative guidelines for the restoration of surface water bodies” report by the Central Pollution Control Board furnishes direction on defining intended use and restoration objectives for water bodies. However, it’s noteworthy that the responsibility for determining intended use should not be shouldered solely by government authorities but should also take into account the preferences of citizens and other invested parties.

Key Points :

It defines water bodies as “all natural or artificial units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes (e.g. industrial, pisciculture, domestic/drinking, recreation, religious, groundwater recharge, etc.)”.

The report excluded certain types of water bodies which include:

  • oceans and lagoons
  • rivers, streams, springs, waterfalls, canals, etc. which are free flowing, without any bounded storage of water
  • swimming pools
  • covered water tanks created for a specific purpose by a family or household for their own consumption
  • a water tank constructed by a factory owner for consumption of water as raw material or consumable
  • temporary water bodies created by digging for mining, brick kilns, and construction activities, which may get filled during the rainy season
  • pucca open water tanks created only for cattle to drink water

Read Also : Surface Water Resources

Water Body Inventory Government, Water Body Inventory Government

Demo Class/Enquiries

blog form

More Links
What's New
IAS NEXT is a topmost Coaching Institute offering guidance for Civil & Judicial services like UPSC, State PCS, PCS-J exams since more than 10 years.
Contact Us
Social Icon

Copyright ©  C S NEXT EDUCATION. All Rights Reserved