Context: As per reports NITI Aayog is planning to discontinue its key report i.e. ‘Composite Water Management Index’. In place, it is mooting the idea to bring some new indexes with wider coverage.
What is Composite Water Management Index?
- The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has developed the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) to enable effective water management in Indian states.
- This coordinated exercise was led by the Water Resources Vertical within NITI Aayog and the data was then reviewed and verified by an Independent Validation Agency (IVA)—IPE Global.
- The index was published in 2018. The Index uses water data from both central and state sources for three years—the base year FY 2015-16, FY 2016-2017, and the FY 17-18.
- It represents a major step towards creating a culture of data-based decision-making for water in India, which can encourage “competitive and cooperative federalism” in the country’s water governance and management.
Indicator themes and weights
- States are displaying progress in water management, but the overall performance remains well below what is required to adequately tackle India’s water challenges – ~80% of the states assessed on the Index have improved their water management scores. But worryingly, 16 out of the 27 states still score less than 50 points on the Index (out of 100), and fall in the low-performing category.
- High-performers continue to demonstrate strong water management practices, but low-performers are struggling to cope up – Top performers such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh have further increased their scores. States like Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Nagaland, and Meghalaya still score less than 40 points.
- Large economic contributors have low water management scores – States like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Kerala, who contribute majorly to the economic output of the country have low score. This highlights conflict between economic growth and conservation.
- Food security is also at risk, given that large agricultural producers are struggling to manage their water resources effectively – None of the top 10 agricultural producers in India, except Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, score more than 60 points on the CWMI.
Successful Case Studies
- JAKHNI VILLAGE, BUNDELKHAND, UTTAR PRADESH – Jakhni village of Banda district in the Bundelkhand region was one of the most water-scarce regions of India. The area was witnessing heavy outgoing migration in search of water and better livelihood opportunities. But over the course of 5 years, villagers have drastically changed their water situation by putting rigorous efforts in water conservation such as construction of farm ponds, restoration /rejuvenation of water bodies, collection and utilization of grey water, raising of farm bunds, and intensive plantation of trees. The most inspiring fact is that the farmers of Jakhni undertook the entire work end-to-end without any external funding, machinery, or resources. Now, Jakhni village has developed to become a water self-sufficient village and is reaping the benefits of improved agricultural production. Once a drought prone village, now produces nearly 23,000 quintals of Basmati rice, and production of other crops has also increased many folds. Jakhani village serves as an excellent example for village water-budgeting modeled around collection and storage of rainwater within the village boundaries and utilizing it for life protection and economic development.
- MUKHYA MANTRI JAL SWAVLAMBHAN ABHIYAN (MJSA), RAJASTHAN – Rajasthan’s Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlambhan Abhiyan, launched in 2016, is a multi-stakeholder programme which aims to make villages self-sufficient in water through a participatory water management approach. After first phase there was 56% reduction in water supply through tankers and an average rise in the groundwater table by 4.66 feet in 21 non-desert districts of the states. 50,000 hectares of additional land had been made fit for cultivation in the districts and 64% of the installed hand-pumps had been rejuvenated.
- NEERU-CHETTU PROGRAMME, ANDHRA PRADESH – The Andhra Pradesh government has launched the Neeru-Chettu programme as a part of its mission to make Andhra Pradesh a drought-proof state and reduce economic inequalities through better water conversation and management practices. The state has repaired about 7,000 farm ponds and over 22,000 check dams under the programme. Additionally, 102 lift irrigation schemes have been commissioned or revived by the state. Efforts under the Neeru-Chettu programme have enabled irrigation access to nearly 2,10,000 acres of land in the state.
- JALYUKT SHIVAR ABHIYAN, MAHARASHTRA – The Maharashtra government launched the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan in 2015-16 with the mission to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019, and an aim of making 5000 villages water scarcity free, every year. Programme initiatives have led to an increase in groundwater levels of 1.5 – 2 metres. Additionally, 11,000 villages have been declared drought-free and agricultural productivity has increased by 30-50%.
- MISSION KAKATIYA, TELANGANA- Telangana’s flagship Mission Kakatiya programme, launched in 2014, aims to restore over 46,000 tanks across the state and bring over 20 lakh acres land under cultivation. The initiative has helped boost the water storage capacity of water bodies and enhance on-farm moisture retention capacity in the region. As per reports, Mission Kakatiya has also led to an increase in the gross area irrigated under tank ayacut by 51.5% compared to the base year.
- SUJALAM SUFALAM YOJANA, GUJARAT- The Sujalam Sufalam Yojana is a water conservation scheme by the Gujarat government which focuses on deepening of water bodies before monsoons and increasing water storage for rainwater collection. After the programme’s success in 2018, the second edition was launched in 2019 in which the state increased its financial contribution to 60% for programme activities, requiring private entities to pay only the remaining 40%.
- KAPIL DHARA YOJANA, MADHYA PRADESH – The Kapil Dhara Yojana by the state of Madhya Pradesh is a unique scheme under the MGNREGA programme to develop irrigation facilities on private land of small and marginal farmers, through the construction of dug wells, farm ponds, check dams, etc. The programme focuses on providing financial support to landholders without access to irrigation facilities and prioritizes marginalized communities to maximize impact. The programme has contributed to improved productivity, intensity, and diversity of crop production in the region and generated livelihood sources.
- PANI BACHAO PAISE KAMAO, PUNJAB – The state of Punjab has introduced an innovative programme to break the water-energy nexus, under which farmers are being provided with a fixed electricity quota and receiving INR 4 per kilowatt hour for every unit of electricity saved through direct benefit transfers (DBTs). It provides a unique solution to the widespread problem of electricity and water wastage by farmers by encouraging them to be efficient in resource utilization through supplementary income upon being water efficient.