Source: Monthly Policy Review of PRS
NITI Aayog has developed the second edition of the Composite Water Management Index to report the performance of states on key water management components. In its report, it has noted that currently, about 82 crore Indians face water scarcity and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. In addition, by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity and an eventual loss of 6% to the country’s GDP
Aim of the Index
The index aims to increase competitiveness among states for water use and conservation and develop a national data management platform for water.
Through the Composite Water Management Index, NITI Aayog has identified states that are high or under-performers, and recognized areas that need deeper investment and engagement.
Following are the key findings of the report;
- Food security: The report mentions that the population of India will be more than 1.5 billion people by 2030. Achieving food security for this rising population becomes more difficult with water scarcity. Many staple crops are being affected by water-related issues. For example, about 74% of the area under wheat cultivation and 65% of the area under rice cultivation faces significant water scarcity.
- Water stress in urban areas: Five of the world’s 20 largest cities under water stress are in India. As of 2014, no Indian city supplied 24×7 water to its entire urban population, and only 35% of urban households in India had piped water.
- Water scarcity and its impact on the Economy: Estimates suggest that industrial water requirement will increase fourfold between 2005 and 2030. Water shortages can hamper industrial operations, which account for 30% of the national GDP.
- Biodiversity risks: The biodiversity of India is impacted by human activities undertaken to create additional water sources. These activities include dam construction and river diversion which can lead to changes in water flow, salinity levels, and monsoon patterns.
- Overall state performance: In the last three years, about 80% of the states have shown improvement in water management parameters such as groundwater source augmentation and water data reporting. However, 16 states (such as Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan) scored less than 50% of the total achievable score. These states account for about 48% of the population, 40% of agricultural produce, and 35% of the economic output of India.