The NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog launched Composite Water Management Index as useful tool to assess and improve performance in efficient management of water resources. The index aims to inspire States/UTs towards efficient and optimal utilization of water and recycling thereof with sense of urgency.
The composite water management index comprises of nine parameters and 28 indicators. These include various aspects of ground water, irrigation, restoration of water bodies, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance. For purpose of analysis, reporting states of index were divided into two special groups North Eastern and Himalayan states and Other States to take into account different hydrological conditions across these groups.
Ranking of States/UTs
General States or Other States: Gujarat topped the list followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were worst performers among general States. In terms of incremental change, it was Rajasthan which held the first position.
North-eastern and Himalayan states: Tripura has topped the list followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam.
Composite water management index’s ranking of states/UTs will ensure that principle of competitive and cooperative federalism is actualised in India’s water management system. It will help build pressure on states who have not performed well to improve their water management techniques as this is directly linked to agriculture prosperity in different states. It can be also utilised to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources. It will provide useful information for States and also for concerned Central Ministries and Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
Need for index
India in recent times is suffering from worst water crisis in its history. Millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat due to this crisis. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 2 lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. It is estimated crisis is going to get worse by 2030 when India’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply. In view of limitations on availability of water resources and rising demand for water, sustainable management of water resources has acquired critical importance. The Composite Water Management Index will fulfil mandate of cooperative and competitive federalism and also challenges States/UTs to meet aspirations of new India.