Home   »   Environment   »   Sustainable Water Management

Sustainable Water Management in India, Strategies, Examples

Context: The theme for World Food Day (October 16) in the year 2023 is — ‘Water is Life, Water is Food’ — calls for urgent action in managing water wisely. Availability or a lack of water has become even more critical with increasing climate extremes.

Sustainable Water Management

Sustainable water management is the practice of using water in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is a complex and challenging task, as it requires balancing the needs of different users, including agriculture, industry, and households, while also protecting the environment.

Water Availability Related Important Facts

  • Water availability is vital for various aspects of human life, notably food and nutrition security.
  • In India, approximately 60% of cultivated land relies on rainfall, contributing 40% to total food production.
  • Rainfed agriculture is susceptible to water availability variations, impacting food security.
  • Urgent measures are needed to enhance rainfed agriculture’s resilience to climate change.
  • Sustainable water management is crucial to mitigate future food and nutrition security challenges.
  • Globally, irrigated agriculture consumes 72% of freshwater resources, often causing harm to ecosystems like seasonal rivers and deep aquifers.
We’re now on WhatsApp. Click to Join

Sustainable Water Management in India

Sustainable water management in India is essential for the country’s economic and social development. India is facing a number of water challenges, including:

  • Water scarcity: India is a water-stressed country, with per capita water availability below the global average.
  • Water pollution: A significant portion of India’s water resources are polluted, making them unsafe for drinking and irrigation.
  • Climate change: Climate change is expected to exacerbate India’s water challenges, leading to more extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods.

Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture

  • Decades of poor water management, misuse and pollution, and the climate crisis have degraded freshwater supplies and ecosystems.
  • About 40% of the planet’s total land area is degraded, leaving farmers with less productive land.
  • Extreme weather events and variability in water availability are severely affecting agricultural production, changing agroecological conditions and shifting growing seasons.
  • Changes in rainfall and higher temperatures also affect crop productivity, reducing food
Impact of Climate Change on India
Crops Reduction In Production By
the Year 2050
Reduction In Production By
the Year 2080
Rice Production Rainfed 20% 47%
Irrigated 3.5% 5%
Wheat 19.3% 40%
Maize 18% 23%

Sustainable Water Management Methods

Sustainable water management methods are practices that help to conserve water, improve water quality, and protect water resources for future generations. These methods can be implemented at the individual, community, and regional levels. Here are some examples of sustainable water management methods:
  • Water conservation: Water conservation is the most important sustainable water management method. It involves using water more efficiently and reducing waste. Water conservation can be achieved through a variety of measures, such as fixing leaky faucets, installing water-efficient appliances, and watering lawns less frequently.
  • Water reuse: Water reuse is the practice of using wastewater for beneficial purposes, such as irrigation or industrial processes. This can help to reduce the demand for fresh water and protect the environment.
  • Rainwater harvesting: Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and storing rainwater for future use. This can help to reduce reliance on municipal water supplies and provide a source of water during droughts.
  • Groundwater management: Groundwater is water that is stored underground in aquifers. It is an important source of water for many people around the world. Groundwater management involves using groundwater sustainably and protecting it from pollution.
  • Ecosystem protection: Ecosystems play a vital role in the water cycle. Protecting ecosystems can help to ensure that water resources are available and clean.

Sustainable Water Management Strategies for Agriculture, Industry, and Households

In addition to these general methods, there are also a number of specific sustainable water management practices that can be implemented in different sectors, such as agriculture, industry, and households.

Sector Strategies
  • Using drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation to reduce water use
  • Planting drought-resistant crops
  • Improving soil health to increase water retention
  • Recycling and reusing water
  • Reducing water use in manufacturing processes
  • Treating wastewater before it is discharged into the environment
  • Fixing leaky faucets
  • Installing water-efficient appliances
  • Taking shorter showers
  • Watering lawns less frequently

Climate Change Adaptation Measures in India

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

  • Supported the farmer water school programme in Uttar Pradesh, to improve water-use efficiency.
  • Supported the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems project, which included a hydrological monitoring programme to help farmers manage water resources in drought-prone districts

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

  • Set ambitious targets to leverage climate financing to mitigate climate change due to the increasing volatility of weather conditions.
  • Supported projects in Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Mizoram that incorporate climate-resilient seed varieties and crops, including millets and soil management to cope with increased water stress.
  • IFAD supports Indian States in leveraging the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act scheme.

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

  • Collaborating with the Government of Odisha to develop solutions for smallholder farmers, focusing on women.
  • Developing solutions to enhance resilience through solar technologies, establishing community-based climate advisory services to help manage climate impacts and promoting a millet-value chain

Sustainable Water Management Solutions

  • Technological advancement: Advancing innovative and proven technologies to enhance farmer productivity and resilience to climate change.
  • Sustainable Irrigation and Water Management: Implementing environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable irrigation and water management strategies.
  • Mitigating Climate Impact: Reducing the climate impact of agricultural production while addressing bio-hazards and environmental pollution.
  • Rural Access to Sanitation and Clean Drinking Water: Improving access to sanitation and drinking water in rural areas.
  • Efficient Food and Water Recycling: Adopting efficient food and water recycling methods.
  • Strengthening Water Governance and Management: Strengthening institutions and capacities for equitable water regulation, management, access, and ownership.

Sharing is caring!

Sustainable Water Management FAQs

What is sustainable water management?

Sustainable water management is the practice of using water in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Why is sustainable water management important?

Sustainable water management is important because water is essential for life and economic development. However, water resources are limited and are under increasing pressure from climate change, population growth, and pollution.

What are the main challenges to sustainable water management?

The main challenges to sustainable water management include:
Water scarcity
Water pollution
Climate change
Population growth

About the Author

I, Sakshi Gupta, am a content writer to empower students aiming for UPSC, PSC, and other competitive exams. My objective is to provide clear, concise, and informative content that caters to your exam preparation needs. I strive to make my content not only informative but also engaging, keeping you motivated throughout your journey!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *