Integrated water resource management can address the problems related to water in India. Discuss.

IWRM refers to managing water and land resources in an integrated manner, taking the river sub-basin as the basic unit. National water policy 2012, brought in the concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).
Features of IWRM:

  • River basin as the base unit.
  • Watershed management.
  • Water and land are taken as an integrated aspect.
  • Focus on saving water and increasing water use efficiency.
  • Take measures to prevent pollution of water bodies from both point and non-point sources.
  • Focus on sustainable water development, participation of the community, and a cluster-based approach.

Issues with the current system of water management:

  • Focus on water and water bodies as an exclusive, disjoint aspect of ecology, suffers from a holistic approach. Instead, land, water, and related resources need to be developed in a coordinated manner.
  • Too much focus on irrigation, and building large dams, obstruct the natural flow of water bodies, thus creating several social and ecological problems.
  • Flood management is seen as a problem that can be solved by structural measures.
  • Policy planning suffers from the non-participation of the local community and traditional knowledge is often neglected.

How IWRM can help?

  • Inter-basin transfer from surplus to deficit regions.
  • Focus on maintaining a minimum water flow in a river to meet ecological needs.
  • Development of groundwater resources by reducing exploitation and taking measures to restore the water table.
  • Making safe drinking water accessible by maintaining the minimum quality of potable water.
  • Flood management via focus on non-structural measures like forecasting, warning, zoning, etc.

Recently Ministry of Jal Shakti has constituted a committee to draft a new water policy. The aim to establish a National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency is the right step.


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