Most of India's 25 lakh water bodies are in rural areas: Survey

The survey revealed that 78 per cent water bodies are man-made whereas 22 per cent are natural water bodies and 1.6 per cent (38,496) water bodies have been encroached upon.

Published: 24th April 2023 09:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2023 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representative purposes only. (Photo | MK Ashok Kumar, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Out of over 25 lakh active water bodies in the country, rural India accounts for about 97 per cent and only 3 per cent are active in urban areas, according to India’s first-ever census of water resources.

According to the 'Irrigation Census', the first-ever comprehensive census of water bodies, by the Ministry of Jal Shakti to evaluate the water security situation, India has 24,24,540 water bodies, out of which 97.1 per cent (23,55,055) are in rural areas and 2.9 per cent (69,485) are in urban areas.

The census revealed that 78 per cent of water bodies are man-made whereas 22 per cent are natural water bodies and 1.6 per cent (38,496) of water bodies have been encroached upon.

The census, which was launched in convergence with the 6th Minor Irrigation Census, provides a comprehensive inventory of India’s water resources, including natural and man-made water bodies like ponds, tanks, lakes, and more.

It was also aimed at o collecting data on the encroachment of water bodies. The census also highlighted disparities between rural and urban areas and varying levels of encroachment and revealed insights into the country’s water resources.

According to ministry sources, the survey was undertaken with the aim to identify, evaluate, conserve and preserve the water bodies as water is “an important aspect for development which is linked with every Sustainable Development Goal”.

With the availability of water being limited and the gap between the supply and demand widening over time, concerted efforts are needed to conserve and preserve these water bodies, a senior ministry official said.

Water being a critical element, the Ministry of Jal Shakti which is the nodal ministry for laying down policy guidelines and programmes for the development, conservation and management of water as a national resource.

The census has released information on all important aspects of the water bodies, including their type, condition, the status of encroachments, use and storage capacity and status of filling up was collected. 

The survey took into account all uses of water bodies like irrigation, industry, pisciculture, domestic and drinking, recreation, religious, groundwater recharge, etc. Census has been successfully completed and the pan-India and state-wise reports have been published.


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