NCERT Textbook - Water Resources Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

NCERT Textbooks (Class 6 to Class 12)

UPSC : NCERT Textbook - Water Resources Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III
Chapter 6
WATER RESOURCES
Do you think that what exists today will
continue to be so, or the future is going to be
different in some respects? It can be said with
some certainty that the societies will witness
demographic transition, geographical shift of
population, technological advancement,
degradation of environment and water scarcity.
Water scarcity is possibly to pose the greatest
challenge on account of its increased demand
coupled with shrinking supplies due to over
utilisation and pollution. Water is a cyclic
resource with abundant supplies on the globe.
Approximately, 71 per cent of the earth’s
surface is covered with it but freshwater
constitutes only about 3 per cent of the total
water.  In fact, a very small proportion of
freshwater is effectively available for human use.
The availability of freshwater varies over space
and time. The tensions and disputes on sharing
and control of this scarce resource are becoming
contested issues among communities, regions,
and states. The assessment, efficient use and
conservation of water, therefore, become
necessary to ensure development. In this
chapter, we shall discuss water resources in
India, its geographical distribution, sectoral
utilisation, and methods of its conservation and
management.
Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India
India accounts for about 2.45 per cent of the
world’s surface area, 4 per cent of the world’s
water resources and about 16 per cent of the
world’s population. The total water available
from precipitation in the country in a year is
about 4,000 cubic km. The availability from
surface water and replenishable groundwater
is 1,869 cubic km. Out of this, only 60 per cent
can be put to beneficial uses. Thus, the total
utilisable water resource in the country is only
1,122 cubic km.
Surface Water Resources
There are four major sources of surface water.
These are rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. In
the country, there are about 10,360 rivers
and their tributaries longer than 1.6 km each.
The mean annual flow in all the river basins
2020-21
Page 2


Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III
Chapter 6
WATER RESOURCES
Do you think that what exists today will
continue to be so, or the future is going to be
different in some respects? It can be said with
some certainty that the societies will witness
demographic transition, geographical shift of
population, technological advancement,
degradation of environment and water scarcity.
Water scarcity is possibly to pose the greatest
challenge on account of its increased demand
coupled with shrinking supplies due to over
utilisation and pollution. Water is a cyclic
resource with abundant supplies on the globe.
Approximately, 71 per cent of the earth’s
surface is covered with it but freshwater
constitutes only about 3 per cent of the total
water.  In fact, a very small proportion of
freshwater is effectively available for human use.
The availability of freshwater varies over space
and time. The tensions and disputes on sharing
and control of this scarce resource are becoming
contested issues among communities, regions,
and states. The assessment, efficient use and
conservation of water, therefore, become
necessary to ensure development. In this
chapter, we shall discuss water resources in
India, its geographical distribution, sectoral
utilisation, and methods of its conservation and
management.
Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India
India accounts for about 2.45 per cent of the
world’s surface area, 4 per cent of the world’s
water resources and about 16 per cent of the
world’s population. The total water available
from precipitation in the country in a year is
about 4,000 cubic km. The availability from
surface water and replenishable groundwater
is 1,869 cubic km. Out of this, only 60 per cent
can be put to beneficial uses. Thus, the total
utilisable water resource in the country is only
1,122 cubic km.
Surface Water Resources
There are four major sources of surface water.
These are rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. In
the country, there are about 10,360 rivers
and their tributaries longer than 1.6 km each.
The mean annual flow in all the river basins
2020-21
of lagoons and lakes have formed. The States
like Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal have vast
surface water resources in these lagoons and
lakes.  Although, water is generally brackish
in these water bodies, it is used for fishing and
irrigating certain varieties of paddy crops,
coconut, etc.
Water Demand and Utilisation
India has traditionally been an agrarian
economy, and about two-third of its
population have been dependent on
agriculture. Hence, development of irrigation
to increase agricultural production has been
assigned a very high priority in the Five Year
Plans, and multipurpose river valleys projects,
like the Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Damodar
Valley, Nagarjuna Sagar, Indira Gandhi Canal
Project, etc., have been taken up. In fact,
India’s water demand at present is dominated
by irrigational needs.
Agriculture accounts for most of the
surface and groundwater utilisation, it
accounts for 89 per cent of the surface water
and 92 per cent of the groundwater utilisation.
While the share of industrial sector is limited
to 2 per cent of the surface water utilisation
and 5 per cent of the ground-water, the share
of domestic sector is higher (9 per cent) in
surface water utilisation as compared to
groundwater. The share of agricultural sector
in total water utilisation is much higher than
other sectors. However, in future, with
development, the shares of industrial and
domestic sectors in the country are likely to
increase.
Demand of Water for Irrigation
In agriculture, water is mainly used for
irrigation. Irrigation is needed because of
spatio-temporal variability in rainfall in the
country. The large tracts of the country are
deficient in rainfall and are drought prone.
North-western India and Deccan plateau
constitute such areas. Winter and summer
seasons are more or less dry in most part
of the country. Hence, it is difficult to
practise agriculture without assured
in India is estimated to be 1,869 cubic km.
However, due to topographical, hydrological
and other constraints, only about 690 cubic
km (32 per cent) of the available surface water
can be utilised. Water flow in a river depends
on size of its catchment area or river basin
and rainfall within its catchment area. You
have studied in your Class XI textbook “India :
Physical Environment” that precipitation in
India has very high spatial variation, and it is
mainly concentrated in Monsoon season. You
also have studied in the textbook that some
of the rivers in the country like the Ganga,
the Brahmaputra, and the Indus have huge
catchment areas. Given that precipitation is
relatively high in the catchment areas of the
Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Barak
rivers, these rivers, although account for only
about one-third of the total area in the
country, have 60 per cent of the total surface
water resources. Much of the annual water
flow in south Indian rivers like the Godavari,
the Krishna, and the Kaveri has been
harnessed, but it is yet to be done in the
Brahmaputra and the Ganga basins.
Groundwater Resources
The total replenishable groundwater
resources in the country are about 432 cubic
km. The level of groundwater utilisation is
relatively high in the river basins lying in
north-western region and parts of south India.
The groundwater utilisation is very high
in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan,
and Tamil Nadu. However, there are States like
Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc., which utilise
only a small proportion of their groundwater
potentials. States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Tripura and Maharashtra are utilising
their groundwater resources at a moderate rate.
If the present trend continues, the demands
for water would need the supplies. And such
situation, will be detrimental to  development,
and can cause social upheaval and
disruptions.
Lagoons and Backwaters
India has a vast coastline and the coast is very
indented in some states. Due to this, a number
Water Resources     61
2020-21
Page 3


Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III
Chapter 6
WATER RESOURCES
Do you think that what exists today will
continue to be so, or the future is going to be
different in some respects? It can be said with
some certainty that the societies will witness
demographic transition, geographical shift of
population, technological advancement,
degradation of environment and water scarcity.
Water scarcity is possibly to pose the greatest
challenge on account of its increased demand
coupled with shrinking supplies due to over
utilisation and pollution. Water is a cyclic
resource with abundant supplies on the globe.
Approximately, 71 per cent of the earth’s
surface is covered with it but freshwater
constitutes only about 3 per cent of the total
water.  In fact, a very small proportion of
freshwater is effectively available for human use.
The availability of freshwater varies over space
and time. The tensions and disputes on sharing
and control of this scarce resource are becoming
contested issues among communities, regions,
and states. The assessment, efficient use and
conservation of water, therefore, become
necessary to ensure development. In this
chapter, we shall discuss water resources in
India, its geographical distribution, sectoral
utilisation, and methods of its conservation and
management.
Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India
India accounts for about 2.45 per cent of the
world’s surface area, 4 per cent of the world’s
water resources and about 16 per cent of the
world’s population. The total water available
from precipitation in the country in a year is
about 4,000 cubic km. The availability from
surface water and replenishable groundwater
is 1,869 cubic km. Out of this, only 60 per cent
can be put to beneficial uses. Thus, the total
utilisable water resource in the country is only
1,122 cubic km.
Surface Water Resources
There are four major sources of surface water.
These are rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. In
the country, there are about 10,360 rivers
and their tributaries longer than 1.6 km each.
The mean annual flow in all the river basins
2020-21
of lagoons and lakes have formed. The States
like Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal have vast
surface water resources in these lagoons and
lakes.  Although, water is generally brackish
in these water bodies, it is used for fishing and
irrigating certain varieties of paddy crops,
coconut, etc.
Water Demand and Utilisation
India has traditionally been an agrarian
economy, and about two-third of its
population have been dependent on
agriculture. Hence, development of irrigation
to increase agricultural production has been
assigned a very high priority in the Five Year
Plans, and multipurpose river valleys projects,
like the Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Damodar
Valley, Nagarjuna Sagar, Indira Gandhi Canal
Project, etc., have been taken up. In fact,
India’s water demand at present is dominated
by irrigational needs.
Agriculture accounts for most of the
surface and groundwater utilisation, it
accounts for 89 per cent of the surface water
and 92 per cent of the groundwater utilisation.
While the share of industrial sector is limited
to 2 per cent of the surface water utilisation
and 5 per cent of the ground-water, the share
of domestic sector is higher (9 per cent) in
surface water utilisation as compared to
groundwater. The share of agricultural sector
in total water utilisation is much higher than
other sectors. However, in future, with
development, the shares of industrial and
domestic sectors in the country are likely to
increase.
Demand of Water for Irrigation
In agriculture, water is mainly used for
irrigation. Irrigation is needed because of
spatio-temporal variability in rainfall in the
country. The large tracts of the country are
deficient in rainfall and are drought prone.
North-western India and Deccan plateau
constitute such areas. Winter and summer
seasons are more or less dry in most part
of the country. Hence, it is difficult to
practise agriculture without assured
in India is estimated to be 1,869 cubic km.
However, due to topographical, hydrological
and other constraints, only about 690 cubic
km (32 per cent) of the available surface water
can be utilised. Water flow in a river depends
on size of its catchment area or river basin
and rainfall within its catchment area. You
have studied in your Class XI textbook “India :
Physical Environment” that precipitation in
India has very high spatial variation, and it is
mainly concentrated in Monsoon season. You
also have studied in the textbook that some
of the rivers in the country like the Ganga,
the Brahmaputra, and the Indus have huge
catchment areas. Given that precipitation is
relatively high in the catchment areas of the
Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Barak
rivers, these rivers, although account for only
about one-third of the total area in the
country, have 60 per cent of the total surface
water resources. Much of the annual water
flow in south Indian rivers like the Godavari,
the Krishna, and the Kaveri has been
harnessed, but it is yet to be done in the
Brahmaputra and the Ganga basins.
Groundwater Resources
The total replenishable groundwater
resources in the country are about 432 cubic
km. The level of groundwater utilisation is
relatively high in the river basins lying in
north-western region and parts of south India.
The groundwater utilisation is very high
in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan,
and Tamil Nadu. However, there are States like
Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc., which utilise
only a small proportion of their groundwater
potentials. States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Tripura and Maharashtra are utilising
their groundwater resources at a moderate rate.
If the present trend continues, the demands
for water would need the supplies. And such
situation, will be detrimental to  development,
and can cause social upheaval and
disruptions.
Lagoons and Backwaters
India has a vast coastline and the coast is very
indented in some states. Due to this, a number
Water Resources     61
2020-21
62 India : People and Economy
Fig. 6.1 : India – River Basins
2020-21
Page 4


Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III
Chapter 6
WATER RESOURCES
Do you think that what exists today will
continue to be so, or the future is going to be
different in some respects? It can be said with
some certainty that the societies will witness
demographic transition, geographical shift of
population, technological advancement,
degradation of environment and water scarcity.
Water scarcity is possibly to pose the greatest
challenge on account of its increased demand
coupled with shrinking supplies due to over
utilisation and pollution. Water is a cyclic
resource with abundant supplies on the globe.
Approximately, 71 per cent of the earth’s
surface is covered with it but freshwater
constitutes only about 3 per cent of the total
water.  In fact, a very small proportion of
freshwater is effectively available for human use.
The availability of freshwater varies over space
and time. The tensions and disputes on sharing
and control of this scarce resource are becoming
contested issues among communities, regions,
and states. The assessment, efficient use and
conservation of water, therefore, become
necessary to ensure development. In this
chapter, we shall discuss water resources in
India, its geographical distribution, sectoral
utilisation, and methods of its conservation and
management.
Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India
India accounts for about 2.45 per cent of the
world’s surface area, 4 per cent of the world’s
water resources and about 16 per cent of the
world’s population. The total water available
from precipitation in the country in a year is
about 4,000 cubic km. The availability from
surface water and replenishable groundwater
is 1,869 cubic km. Out of this, only 60 per cent
can be put to beneficial uses. Thus, the total
utilisable water resource in the country is only
1,122 cubic km.
Surface Water Resources
There are four major sources of surface water.
These are rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. In
the country, there are about 10,360 rivers
and their tributaries longer than 1.6 km each.
The mean annual flow in all the river basins
2020-21
of lagoons and lakes have formed. The States
like Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal have vast
surface water resources in these lagoons and
lakes.  Although, water is generally brackish
in these water bodies, it is used for fishing and
irrigating certain varieties of paddy crops,
coconut, etc.
Water Demand and Utilisation
India has traditionally been an agrarian
economy, and about two-third of its
population have been dependent on
agriculture. Hence, development of irrigation
to increase agricultural production has been
assigned a very high priority in the Five Year
Plans, and multipurpose river valleys projects,
like the Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Damodar
Valley, Nagarjuna Sagar, Indira Gandhi Canal
Project, etc., have been taken up. In fact,
India’s water demand at present is dominated
by irrigational needs.
Agriculture accounts for most of the
surface and groundwater utilisation, it
accounts for 89 per cent of the surface water
and 92 per cent of the groundwater utilisation.
While the share of industrial sector is limited
to 2 per cent of the surface water utilisation
and 5 per cent of the ground-water, the share
of domestic sector is higher (9 per cent) in
surface water utilisation as compared to
groundwater. The share of agricultural sector
in total water utilisation is much higher than
other sectors. However, in future, with
development, the shares of industrial and
domestic sectors in the country are likely to
increase.
Demand of Water for Irrigation
In agriculture, water is mainly used for
irrigation. Irrigation is needed because of
spatio-temporal variability in rainfall in the
country. The large tracts of the country are
deficient in rainfall and are drought prone.
North-western India and Deccan plateau
constitute such areas. Winter and summer
seasons are more or less dry in most part
of the country. Hence, it is difficult to
practise agriculture without assured
in India is estimated to be 1,869 cubic km.
However, due to topographical, hydrological
and other constraints, only about 690 cubic
km (32 per cent) of the available surface water
can be utilised. Water flow in a river depends
on size of its catchment area or river basin
and rainfall within its catchment area. You
have studied in your Class XI textbook “India :
Physical Environment” that precipitation in
India has very high spatial variation, and it is
mainly concentrated in Monsoon season. You
also have studied in the textbook that some
of the rivers in the country like the Ganga,
the Brahmaputra, and the Indus have huge
catchment areas. Given that precipitation is
relatively high in the catchment areas of the
Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Barak
rivers, these rivers, although account for only
about one-third of the total area in the
country, have 60 per cent of the total surface
water resources. Much of the annual water
flow in south Indian rivers like the Godavari,
the Krishna, and the Kaveri has been
harnessed, but it is yet to be done in the
Brahmaputra and the Ganga basins.
Groundwater Resources
The total replenishable groundwater
resources in the country are about 432 cubic
km. The level of groundwater utilisation is
relatively high in the river basins lying in
north-western region and parts of south India.
The groundwater utilisation is very high
in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan,
and Tamil Nadu. However, there are States like
Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc., which utilise
only a small proportion of their groundwater
potentials. States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Tripura and Maharashtra are utilising
their groundwater resources at a moderate rate.
If the present trend continues, the demands
for water would need the supplies. And such
situation, will be detrimental to  development,
and can cause social upheaval and
disruptions.
Lagoons and Backwaters
India has a vast coastline and the coast is very
indented in some states. Due to this, a number
Water Resources     61
2020-21
62 India : People and Economy
Fig. 6.1 : India – River Basins
2020-21
Water Resources     63
Emerging Water Problems
The per capita availability of water is dwindling
day-by-day due to increase in population. The
available water resources are also getting
polluted with industrial, agricultural and
domestic effluents, and this, in turn, is further
limiting the availability of usable water
resources.
Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality
Water quality refers to purity of water, or water
without unwanted foreign substances. Water
gets polluted by foreign matters, such as
micro-organisms, chemicals, industrial and
other wastes.  Such matters deteriorate the
quality of water and render it unfit for human
use. When toxic substances enter lakes,
streams, rivers, ocean and other water bodies,
they get dissolved or lie suspended in water.
This results in pollution of water, whereby
quality of water deteriorates affecting aquatic
systems. Sometimes, these pollutants also
seep down and pollute groundwater.  The
Ganga and the Yamuna are the two highly
polluted rivers in the country.
Find out which are the major towns/cities located on
the bank of the Ganga and its tributaries and major
industries they have.
Water Conservation and Management
Since there is a declining availability of
freshwater and increasing demand, the need
has arisen to conserve and effectively manage
this precious life giving resource for sustainable
development. Given that water availability from
sea/ocean, due to high cost of desalinisation,
is considered negligible, India has to take quick
steps and make effective policies and laws, and
adopt effective measures for its conservation.
Besides developing water-saving technologies
and methods, attempts are also to be made to
prevent the pollution. There is need to
irrigation during dry seasons. Even in the
areas of ample rainfall like West Bengal
and Bihar, breaks in monsoon or its
failure creates dry spells detrimental for
agriculture. Water need of certain crops also
makes irrigation necessary. For instance,
water requirement of rice, sugarcane, jute,
etc. is very high which can be met only
through irrigation.
Provision of irrigation makes multiple
cropping possible. It has also been found that
irrigated lands have higher agricultural
productivity than unirrigated land. Further,
the high yielding varieties of crops need
regular moisture supply, which is made
possible only by a developed irrigation
systems. In fact, this is why that green
revolution strategy of agriculture
development in the country has largely been
successful in Punjab, Haryana and western
Uttar Pradesh.
In Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar
Pradesh, more than 85 per cent of their net
sown area is under irrigation. Wheat and rice
are grown mainly with the help of irrigation
in these states. Of the total net irrigated area
76.1 per cent in Punjab and 51.3 per cent in
Haryana are irrigated through wells and
tubewells. This shows that these states utilise
large proportion of their groundwater
potential which has resulted in groundwater
depletion in these states.
 The over-use of groundwater resources
has led to decline in groundwater table in
these states. In fact, over withdrawals in some
states, like Rajasthan and Maharashtra, has
increased fluoride concentration in
groundwater, and this practice has led to
increase in concentration of arsenic in parts
of West Bengal and Bihar.
Intensive irrigation in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar
Pradesh is increasing salinity in the soil and depletion
of groundwater irrigation. Discuss its likely impacts on
agriculture.
2020-21
Page 5


Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III Unit III
Chapter 6
WATER RESOURCES
Do you think that what exists today will
continue to be so, or the future is going to be
different in some respects? It can be said with
some certainty that the societies will witness
demographic transition, geographical shift of
population, technological advancement,
degradation of environment and water scarcity.
Water scarcity is possibly to pose the greatest
challenge on account of its increased demand
coupled with shrinking supplies due to over
utilisation and pollution. Water is a cyclic
resource with abundant supplies on the globe.
Approximately, 71 per cent of the earth’s
surface is covered with it but freshwater
constitutes only about 3 per cent of the total
water.  In fact, a very small proportion of
freshwater is effectively available for human use.
The availability of freshwater varies over space
and time. The tensions and disputes on sharing
and control of this scarce resource are becoming
contested issues among communities, regions,
and states. The assessment, efficient use and
conservation of water, therefore, become
necessary to ensure development. In this
chapter, we shall discuss water resources in
India, its geographical distribution, sectoral
utilisation, and methods of its conservation and
management.
Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India Water Resources of India
India accounts for about 2.45 per cent of the
world’s surface area, 4 per cent of the world’s
water resources and about 16 per cent of the
world’s population. The total water available
from precipitation in the country in a year is
about 4,000 cubic km. The availability from
surface water and replenishable groundwater
is 1,869 cubic km. Out of this, only 60 per cent
can be put to beneficial uses. Thus, the total
utilisable water resource in the country is only
1,122 cubic km.
Surface Water Resources
There are four major sources of surface water.
These are rivers, lakes, ponds and tanks. In
the country, there are about 10,360 rivers
and their tributaries longer than 1.6 km each.
The mean annual flow in all the river basins
2020-21
of lagoons and lakes have formed. The States
like Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal have vast
surface water resources in these lagoons and
lakes.  Although, water is generally brackish
in these water bodies, it is used for fishing and
irrigating certain varieties of paddy crops,
coconut, etc.
Water Demand and Utilisation
India has traditionally been an agrarian
economy, and about two-third of its
population have been dependent on
agriculture. Hence, development of irrigation
to increase agricultural production has been
assigned a very high priority in the Five Year
Plans, and multipurpose river valleys projects,
like the Bhakra-Nangal, Hirakud, Damodar
Valley, Nagarjuna Sagar, Indira Gandhi Canal
Project, etc., have been taken up. In fact,
India’s water demand at present is dominated
by irrigational needs.
Agriculture accounts for most of the
surface and groundwater utilisation, it
accounts for 89 per cent of the surface water
and 92 per cent of the groundwater utilisation.
While the share of industrial sector is limited
to 2 per cent of the surface water utilisation
and 5 per cent of the ground-water, the share
of domestic sector is higher (9 per cent) in
surface water utilisation as compared to
groundwater. The share of agricultural sector
in total water utilisation is much higher than
other sectors. However, in future, with
development, the shares of industrial and
domestic sectors in the country are likely to
increase.
Demand of Water for Irrigation
In agriculture, water is mainly used for
irrigation. Irrigation is needed because of
spatio-temporal variability in rainfall in the
country. The large tracts of the country are
deficient in rainfall and are drought prone.
North-western India and Deccan plateau
constitute such areas. Winter and summer
seasons are more or less dry in most part
of the country. Hence, it is difficult to
practise agriculture without assured
in India is estimated to be 1,869 cubic km.
However, due to topographical, hydrological
and other constraints, only about 690 cubic
km (32 per cent) of the available surface water
can be utilised. Water flow in a river depends
on size of its catchment area or river basin
and rainfall within its catchment area. You
have studied in your Class XI textbook “India :
Physical Environment” that precipitation in
India has very high spatial variation, and it is
mainly concentrated in Monsoon season. You
also have studied in the textbook that some
of the rivers in the country like the Ganga,
the Brahmaputra, and the Indus have huge
catchment areas. Given that precipitation is
relatively high in the catchment areas of the
Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Barak
rivers, these rivers, although account for only
about one-third of the total area in the
country, have 60 per cent of the total surface
water resources. Much of the annual water
flow in south Indian rivers like the Godavari,
the Krishna, and the Kaveri has been
harnessed, but it is yet to be done in the
Brahmaputra and the Ganga basins.
Groundwater Resources
The total replenishable groundwater
resources in the country are about 432 cubic
km. The level of groundwater utilisation is
relatively high in the river basins lying in
north-western region and parts of south India.
The groundwater utilisation is very high
in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan,
and Tamil Nadu. However, there are States like
Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala, etc., which utilise
only a small proportion of their groundwater
potentials. States like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh,
Bihar, Tripura and Maharashtra are utilising
their groundwater resources at a moderate rate.
If the present trend continues, the demands
for water would need the supplies. And such
situation, will be detrimental to  development,
and can cause social upheaval and
disruptions.
Lagoons and Backwaters
India has a vast coastline and the coast is very
indented in some states. Due to this, a number
Water Resources     61
2020-21
62 India : People and Economy
Fig. 6.1 : India – River Basins
2020-21
Water Resources     63
Emerging Water Problems
The per capita availability of water is dwindling
day-by-day due to increase in population. The
available water resources are also getting
polluted with industrial, agricultural and
domestic effluents, and this, in turn, is further
limiting the availability of usable water
resources.
Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality Deterioration of Water Quality
Water quality refers to purity of water, or water
without unwanted foreign substances. Water
gets polluted by foreign matters, such as
micro-organisms, chemicals, industrial and
other wastes.  Such matters deteriorate the
quality of water and render it unfit for human
use. When toxic substances enter lakes,
streams, rivers, ocean and other water bodies,
they get dissolved or lie suspended in water.
This results in pollution of water, whereby
quality of water deteriorates affecting aquatic
systems. Sometimes, these pollutants also
seep down and pollute groundwater.  The
Ganga and the Yamuna are the two highly
polluted rivers in the country.
Find out which are the major towns/cities located on
the bank of the Ganga and its tributaries and major
industries they have.
Water Conservation and Management
Since there is a declining availability of
freshwater and increasing demand, the need
has arisen to conserve and effectively manage
this precious life giving resource for sustainable
development. Given that water availability from
sea/ocean, due to high cost of desalinisation,
is considered negligible, India has to take quick
steps and make effective policies and laws, and
adopt effective measures for its conservation.
Besides developing water-saving technologies
and methods, attempts are also to be made to
prevent the pollution. There is need to
irrigation during dry seasons. Even in the
areas of ample rainfall like West Bengal
and Bihar, breaks in monsoon or its
failure creates dry spells detrimental for
agriculture. Water need of certain crops also
makes irrigation necessary. For instance,
water requirement of rice, sugarcane, jute,
etc. is very high which can be met only
through irrigation.
Provision of irrigation makes multiple
cropping possible. It has also been found that
irrigated lands have higher agricultural
productivity than unirrigated land. Further,
the high yielding varieties of crops need
regular moisture supply, which is made
possible only by a developed irrigation
systems. In fact, this is why that green
revolution strategy of agriculture
development in the country has largely been
successful in Punjab, Haryana and western
Uttar Pradesh.
In Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar
Pradesh, more than 85 per cent of their net
sown area is under irrigation. Wheat and rice
are grown mainly with the help of irrigation
in these states. Of the total net irrigated area
76.1 per cent in Punjab and 51.3 per cent in
Haryana are irrigated through wells and
tubewells. This shows that these states utilise
large proportion of their groundwater
potential which has resulted in groundwater
depletion in these states.
 The over-use of groundwater resources
has led to decline in groundwater table in
these states. In fact, over withdrawals in some
states, like Rajasthan and Maharashtra, has
increased fluoride concentration in
groundwater, and this practice has led to
increase in concentration of arsenic in parts
of West Bengal and Bihar.
Intensive irrigation in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar
Pradesh is increasing salinity in the soil and depletion
of groundwater irrigation. Discuss its likely impacts on
agriculture.
2020-21
64 India : People and Economy
encourage watershed development, rainwater
harvesting, water recycling and reuse, and
conjunctive use of water for sustaining water
supply in long run.
Prevention of Water Pollution
Available water resources are degrading
rapidly.  The major rivers of the country
generally retain better water quality in less
densely populated upper stretches in hilly
areas. In plains, river water is used intensively
for irrigation, drinking, domestic and industrial
purposes. The drains carrying agricultural
(fertilizers and insecticides), domestic (solid and
liquid wastes), and industrial effluents join the
rivers. The concentration of pollutants in rivers,
especially remains very high during the summer
season when flow of water is low.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
in collaboration with State Pollution Control
Boards has been monitoring water quality of
national aquatic resources at 507 stations. The
data obtained from these stations show that
organic and bacterial contamination continues
to be the main source of pollution in rivers. The
Yamuna river is the most polluted river in the
country between Delhi and Etawah. Other
severely polluted rivers are: the Sabarmati at
Ahmedabad, the Gomti at Lucknow, the Kali,
the Adyar, the Cooum (entire stretches), the
Vaigai at Madurai and the Musi of Hyderabad
and the Ganga at Kanpur and Varanasi.
Groundwater pollution has occurred due to high
Fig. 6.2 : The Ganga and its Tributaries and Towns Located on them
2020-21
Read More
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