NITI Aayog Comes Out With Composite Water Management Index

To supplement the efforts of the Jal Shakti Ministry, NITI Aayog prepares the Composite Water Management Index. NITI Aayog first launched and conceptualized the Composite Water Management Index in 2018 as a tool to instill a sense of cooperative and competitive federalism among the states. This was a first-ever attempt at creating a pan-India set of metrics that measured different dimensions of water management and use across the lifecycle of water.

Why does India need water management?

For the past couple of years, India has been experiencing an acute water crisis across states. About 82 crore people in India, despite living along the water basins, have access to per capita water less than 1000 cubic meters. This is the official threshold for water scarcity according to the Falkenmark Index.

What is the Composite Water Management Index?

The Composite Water Management Index is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States/ Union Territories in the efficient management of water resources. The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.

Why is this index needed?

Scientific management of water is increasingly recognized as being vital to India’s growth and ecosystem sustainability. The government is being proactive about water management and has created the Ministry of Jal Shakti to consolidate interrelated functions about water management. This newly formed Jal Shakti Ministry, under the guidance of Prime Minister, has strived to over-bridge the water challenges by launching the Jal Shakti Abhiyan – a campaign for water conservation and water security. To ensure effective measures, the Ministry needs accurate data. That is where the Composite Water Management Index comes into the picture.

How is this index collated?

The index combines 9 indicator themes, each with separate weightage, that together give a complete picture of the condition of the water as a resource in the country –

No Themes Weights
1 Source augmentation and restoration of water bodies 5
2 Source augmentation (Groundwater) 15
3 Major and medium irrigation — Supply-side management 15
4 Watershed development — Supply-side management 10
5 Participatory irrigation practices — Demand-side management 10
6 Sustainable on-farm water use practices — Demand-side management 10
7 Rural drinking water 10
8 Urban water supply and sanitation 10
9 Policy and governance 15
Way Forward

Access to accurate datasets is the first step towards understanding an issue and creating efficient solutions. The Composite Water Management Index as published by NITI Aayog does allow the government to understand where the problems lie and which states need more aid in solving their issues. Knowing which indicators need work, states can concentrate on solving one particular crisis at a time. For example, with this data, 80% of the states have improved their scores from 2016-17 to 2017-18. The states that are lagging can always take a page out of the books of the states that top the index. By cooperating and taking more decisive steps, India can surely conquer its water crisis problem.

Question for UPSC Mains:
NITI Aayog has taken to publishing the Composite Water Management Index yearly. Discuss the need for such an index.

Published: January 11, 2020 | Modified:January 11, 2020

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