NITI Aayog, National Institution for Transforming India, Government of India


Background and Rationale

The annual precipitation including snowfall, which is the main source of water in India, is about 4000 billion cubic meters (BCM). However, the average annual rainfall varies considerably from one region of the country to another. The North East region receives about 1000 cm and Western Rajasthan gets less than 10 cm of annual precipitation. Further, most of the rainfall occurs during the season of south-west monsoon in four months i.e. from June to September.

About 53.3 percent of total precipitation is lost due to evapotranspiration which leaves a balance of 1869 BCM water in the country. Further, about 40 per cent of the potential available can’t be put to beneficial use due to topographical constraints and uneven distribution of water resources over space and time. Thus utilizable water potential of the country is estimated to be 1123 BCM consisting of 690 BCM of surface water and 433 BCM of ground water (Box 1.1).

Box 1.1
Status on Average Annual Water Availability
Precipitation received 4000 BCM (100%)
Water Resources Potential 1869 BCM (46.7%)
Utilizable Water Resources 1123 BCM (28.1%)
Ground Water 433 BCM (10.8%)
Surface Water 690 BCM (17.2%)
(Figures in parentheses are per cent of total precipitation)

Availability of both surface and ground water varies from one region to another. In view of limitations on availability of water resources and rising demand for water, sustainable management of water resources has acquired critical importance. NITI Aayog has developed a Composite Water Management Index as a useful tool to assess and further improve the performance in 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. It has been finalized after an elaborate exercise including seeking feedback from the States and consultation with reputed experts.

The Index has a set of 28 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) covering irrigation status, drinking water and other water-related sectors. Critical areas such as source augmentation; major and medium irrigation; watershed development; participatory irrigation practices; sustainable on-farm water use practices; rural drinking water; urban water supply and sanitation; and policy & governance have been accorded high priority. The index would serve as a useful tool to track performance in the water sector and take corrective measures timely for achieving better outcomes thereby meeting the citizens’ expectations satisfactorily.