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.