Water resources in India Upsc

Water resources in India

India has only 4% of the World’s renewable water resources. On the other hand, it is home to nearly 16% of the Worlds population.

Management of water resources in India is the most vital thing today to sustain a one billion-plus population. India account, for 2.4% of the entire world area.

It includes 4% of the planet’s water resources and 16% of the population of the world. Of which the entire water from precipitation in India is 4000 cubic km during a year.

Also, the supply of groundwater and surface water is 1869 cubic km and out of which only 60% is usable for domestic use.

As a result, India’s entire utilizable water resource is merely 1122 cubic km.

Surface Water Resources in India

There are four major surface water resources in India. These are rivers, lakes, ponds, and tanks. In India, there are about 10,360 rivers and their tributaries longer than 1.6 km each.

The mean annual flow altogether to the river basins in India is estimated to be 1,869 cubic km.

But due to hydrological, topographical, and other reasons, only 690 cubic km (32%) of obtainable surface water are often utilized.

The water flow within the rivers depends on the catchment basin, rivers basin size, and rainfall within its catchment basin.

The precipitation is high within the catchment areas of the Ganga, the Brahmaputra, and therefore the Barak rivers. These three rivers account for less than one-third of the entire area in India. But has 60 percent of the entire surface water resources.

Comparatively much of the annual water flow in south Indian rivers just like the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri has been harnessed well. But it’s yet to be wiped out the Brahmaputra and therefore the Ganga basins.

Groundwater resources in India

Rainfall is the biggest source of groundwater recharge in India. Also the groundwater is recharged from canals, irrigated fields and surface water bodies.

There are 432 cubic km of total replenishable groundwater resources within the country. Its utilization is extremely high within the basin that lies within the north-western region and South India.

States like Punjab, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu utilize the groundwater quite high than the others. Also, other states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc utilize the groundwater to some extent.

States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura, and Maharashtra are utilizing their groundwater resources at a moderate rate.

The more groundwater usage, the demand for the water would wish the supplies. Such situations are detrimental to the country’s development and make social eruptions and confusion.

State with most groundwater resource in India

As per the data from Central Water Commission (CWC), Uttar Pradesh has highest percentage of total annual replenishable ground water resource in India.

It is about 77.19 Billion Cubic metres annually replinishable.

Lagoons and Backwaters

India features a vast coastline and thanks to this, a variety of lagoons and lakes have formed.

The States like Kerala, Odisha, and West Bengal have vast surface water resources in these lagoons and lakes. In these areas, the water is usually brackish. This brackish water is employed for irrigation of certain sorts of paddy, coconut, etc and therefore the water bodies are used for fishing.

State with Highest Water Resources in India

Odisha has the largest area of water resources in India with approximately 997 thousand hectares as of 2019. This state largely depends on Southwest Monsoon for its water resources. As it is a coastal state, rainfall is an important resource for its surface water and groundwater reserves.


* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.