Analysing Water Management And Related Issues Environmental Sciences Essay


India is gifted with rich and immense diversity of resources naturally, one among them is water. The development of water and its management is crucial for agriculture production. While the safe drinking water development and its sustainable supply is a challenge globally but it in India it is acute, because of increasing contamination and depletion of ground and surface water, time and space inconsistency of rainfall and due to population density (Bajpai, 2007). Human beings are facing serious problems today due to water crisis; water supply is a major issue. Due to lack of sanitation facilities and clean water almost 2*107children are becoming dead every year. Still safe drinking water is a dream for 109 people. The Human Development Report, 2006 of India emphasises as the pressure on the limited water resources is mounting each day due to rapid urbanisation, population growth, and the poor management of water resources and mounting demand from various sectors such as agriculture, industry, energy and domestic purposes. In addition to above factors global warming and climate change are disturbing the hydrological cycle.

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The effect of water crisis is immense especially on the poor. Poor are majorly affected by water-born and water related diseases. This is leading to child mortality and low literacy rate of girls, who spend major part of the day to collect and transport the water. As per water experts views the factors contributing to lack of clean water are geographical salinity and other forms of contamination such as Arsenic and fluoride, waste disposal by industry sectors and urban areas and supply management of water.(Tanwar and Kruseman, 1985). The unavailability of safe water in required quantities affects the quality of the life in two ways. On one hand it requires more time to collect and on other hand consumption of contaminated water has adverse effect on productivity and health. In India ground water is the major source and it was developed in rural India in order to meet the water needs. But the shallow wells gets contaminated most often in many states such as Bihar, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Utter Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Deep wells have clean water, but diesel or electricity is required to lift the water. High operating costs, capital and highly variable supply of electricity are major constraints to use the water of deep wells by poor. In these circumstances integrated development and management of ground and surface water is vital for environmental sustenance, sustainable economic development and poverty reduction.(Bajpai, 2007)

Ground water

The total annual replenishable ground water resources of the country have been assessed as 433 Bm3. Existing gross ground water draft as on March 2004 for all uses is 231 Bm3 per year. The stage of ground water development is about 58% (

The ground water development is not uniform in the country. Ground water development has been done intensively in India; this resulted to more exploitation finally leading to decreased levels of ground water and intrusion of sea water in coastal regions. The number of over exploitation areas is increasing continuously in India. As per CGWB (Central Ground Water Board) assessments on resources of ground water India is categorised as overexploited, critical and semi critical units. Out of 5,723 units 839 units are founded as over exploited, 226 as critical and 550 as semi critical units among various states of India. In over exploited units the extraction of ground water exceeds the replenishable resource annually. In critical units

The stage of ground water development is above 90% and less than 100% of annual replenishable resource with significant decline in long term water level trend in both pre-monsoon and post-monsoon period (

And in semi critical units development of ground water is above 70%. In India salinity and water logging caused by irrigation is a major problem. As per the estimates of Ministry of Agriculture water logging affects 8.5*107 ha due to rise in ground water and poor control of irrigation up to 1990. Whereas Central Water Commission estimates shows the affected area as 1.6*107 ha due to ground water rise only up to 1990. Whatever may be the extent the water logging is becoming a major challenge for ground water and surface water management. Integrated approach which incorporates both ground water and surface water is essential to address this challenge. The salinity and water logging has severe impacts on regional economies and on farmers by reducing the crop yields (Vaidyanathan, 2004). Haryana is an important producer of food grains. Nearly about 80% area of the state is agricultural land. This state is extensively using the ground water for irrigation; this extensive use is resulting to decline of ground water. Percolation of water in the field and absence of ground water pumping is resulting to increase of salinization and water logging. Some studies were conducted to solve this problem says that, if there is too salinity, it should be diluted by fresh water before re using it. Furthermore there is need to study to find the methods related to excess ground water with salinity (Tanwar and Kruseman, 1985). For domestic purposes ground water is the important back bone. For 80% of rural population and for many urban cities water is supplied from ground water (Gupta, 2005)

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The statement of the National Water Policy of 1987 says that there should be some rate to the water and that rate should be in such a way the user should know the scarcity of water and its value so that he can be motivated to use the water efficiently. The rate charged water should cover the operation cost, maintenance cost and some part of fixed cost. FAO gives the average cost for maintenance and operation of water in India, but this rate varies according to the states and the technology used. For instance in Gujarat it is Rs2 for 1000 litres and in Haryana it is Rs0.04 for 1000 litres, so on average the rate of water is estimated as Rs0.25 for 1000 litres ((Tanwar & Kruseman, 1985).

Surface water

Surface water is precipitated water, it do not infiltrates in to ground or evaporates in the atmosphere. Generally it is defined as the water which flows or stands on earth's surface and referred as runoff commonly.

The management of surface water is a complex issue, mainly cantered in historical precedent and practices, yet as knowledge increases on the unsustainable impacts of these traditional approaches to management, so does the need to challenge the current orthodoxy (White, 2010).

Developed countries such as India drained the landscapes due urbanization spread associated with the shift to industrial society from an agrarian society. In these circumstances stagnant water is considered as hazard, so tried to move storm water, the runoff safely and quickly into sewers or in to nearest water bodies (White, 2010).

Pollution is also problem in case of management of surface water. The pollution is caused mainly by two sources such as point source and diffuse pollution. Point source pollution occurs due to industrial effluent and sewage. The diffuse pollution occurs due to minimal quantifiable practices. The legislations of trans-national and national environmental protection regulated the point source pollution but not the diffuse pollution. Diffuse pollution caused by runoff of surface water has greater effect on the quality of domestic water sources and it widely recognised as biggest challenge to improve the quality of water. Diffuse pollution is significantly becoming a complex problem than other forms of pollutions to solve. There is no existing mechanism in our environmental protection mechanisms to face the challenges of diffuse pollution. However developed countries managing the surface water with sewer and drainage systems but these systems are creating diffuse pollution, because this division transports runoff in to sewers after to watercourses without treatment. So with conventional techniques of drainage the effective management of diffuse pollution is looking like an unachievable thing.

(Source: White)

In past developments combined sewer system was in operation instead of separate sewer system. This system also causes many problems to environment, because both storm water and waste water from household released in to a single system then carried for treatment. Compared to modern method it seems environmental friendly, but the capacity of this system may not with stand at times of more rain fall. The way which we are following to manage surface water is causing many environmental damages in addition to diffuse pollution (White, 2010).

Integrated management

The effective management of water resources is possible with integrated management. Integrated management uses both structural and non structural measures to control human made and natural systems of water resources for the benefit of society. As part of this system environmental elements and water control facilities work in collaboration to achieve water management. ( Waterencyclopedia).

This system considers all the view points of human environment factors, human groups and natural water system aspects. Structural components of human-made systems controls quality and water flow and also include diversion structure, storage facilities, dams, pumping stations, treatment plants wells and hydroelectric plants. Natural water system elements include watersheds, the atmosphere, wetlands, stream channels, floodplains, lakes, aquifers, seas, estuaries and oceans ( Waterencyclopedia).

Integrated management considers viewpoints of government, agencies of water management, geographic regions and stakeholder groups. Generally water agencies deals with water quality, waste water and water supply services, flood and storm water control, navigation hydropower, recreation, fish, wild life and environment. The multipurpose management of water resources is evolved as part integrated management with many purposes. After this comprehensive water management and planning came in to picture for management of water with many view points. (Waterencyclopedia)

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Source: waterencyclopedia

The management of water resources is complex as mentioned earlier. Carrying this complex task requires the wisdom and knowledge of various disciplines and areas. Mix of knowledge from law, engineering, finance, politics, history, sociology, life science, psychology, mathematics, economics and others which can bring some knowledge about consequences and possibilities of actions and decisions. One important tool for integration is cooperation, because sometimes water management consists of conflicting objectives. The mechanism of coordination may be formal or informal. The formal form is intergovernmental agreements and informal form is voluntary group meetings of local watersheds. Other key element of integration is cooperation may be informal or formal means. Whatever may be the means of cooperation such as cooperative actions for water management at regional scale, main aim is water management. By consideration of regional and local variations, Total Water Management performs the following functions such as:

Encourages planning and management on a natural water systems basis through a dynamic process that adapts to changing conditions. Balances competing uses of water through efficient allocation that addresses social values, cost effectiveness, and environmental benefits and costs; Requires the participation of all units of government and stakeholders in decision-making through a process of coordination and conflict resolution; Promotes water conservation, reuse, source protection, and supply development to enhance water quality and quantity and fosters public health, safety, and community goodwill (waterencyclopedia).


1. Bajpai, N. 2007. India's growing water crisis. (accessed on 29 July 2010)

2. Gupta, P. 2005. Under ground water development in India-trends, crops. (accessed on 30 July 2010)

3. Groundwaterdevelopment. (accessed on 30 July 2010)

4. Tanwar, B.S.and Kruseman, G.P. 1985. Ground water management in state Haryana, India. (accessed on 30 July 2010)

5. Narian, S. 2006. Human development report 2006. (accessed on 30 July 2010)

6. Vaidyanathan, 2004. Groundwater management: the search for practical approaches. Cited in water reports (2003). (accessed on 30 July 2010)

7. Water encyclopedia. Integrated water resources management. (accessed on 30 July 2010)

8. White, I. 2010. Surface water management. (accessed on 30 July 2010)


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