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       Water Scenario

Water is a precious natural resource vital, for sustaining all life on the earth. It is in a continuous circulatory movement between land, ocean and atmosphere - the hydrological cycle. It is not uniformly distributed in time and space. Due to its multiple benefits and the problems created by its excesses, shortages and quality deterioration, water as a resource requires special attention.


Fig: Hydrological Cycle
Source : Irrigation Theory and Practices: Michael

Sustainable development demands that we should use our precious water resources efficiently and effectively. This will have to include forward planning and action, which can specifically address; both, the existing and emerging human and environment problems. On a global scale, total quantity of water available is about 1600 million cubic km. The hydrological cycle moves enormous quantities of water about the globe. However, much of the world's water has little potential for human use.

The distribution of water on earth in percentage is estimated as below:

Oceans                                      97
Ice-Caps                                    02.0
Ground water                              0.62
Fresh Water lakes                        0.009
Inland sea and salt lakes               0.008
Atmosphere                                0.001
Rivers                                        0.0001
Total                                         99.6%(aprox)

Hence, the fresh water resources of an area comprise mainly of:

  • Surface water resources (rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.).
  • Groundwater resources.

    In view of limited water availability one can appreciate the wisdom of ancient people in formulating codes and norms for protecting water bodies.

The Water Budget:

India has sizable resources of water and a large cultivable land but also a large and growing population to feed. Erratic distribution of rainfall in time and space leads to conditions of floods and droughts which may sometimes occur in the same region in the same year. India has about 16% of the world population as compared to only 4% of average annual runoff in the rivers.




 Geographical Area 

 Flood Prone Area 

 Ultimate Irrigation Potential 

 Total Cultivable Land Area 

 Net Irrigated Area 

 Natural Runoff (Surface Water and Ground

 Estimated Utilizable Surface Water Potential 

 Groundwater Resource 

 Available Groundwater resource for Irrigation 

 Net Utilizable Groundwater resource for

329 million ha. 

40 million ha. 

140 million ha. 

184 million ha. 

50 million ha. 

1869 Cubic km 

690 Cubic km. 

432 Cubic km. 

361 Cubic km. 

325 Cubic km. 

Source: www.nih.ernet.in/html-files/water.htm 

Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India



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