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 Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)


NITI Aayog has reportedly designated the ‘Composite Water Management Index’ reports for 2018-19 and 2019-20 as for “internal use” after publicly releasing previous editions. The reports, first introduced in 2018, evaluate state progress in water management by considering 28 parameters, shedding light on India’s water challenges and ranking states accordingly.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Background and Water Crisis in India
  2. What is the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)?
  3.  NITI Aayog’s Decision to Make CWMI ‘Internal’

Background and Water Crisis in India

  • India faces its most severe water crisis, endangering millions of lives and livelihoods.
  • Approximately 600 million Indians experience high to extreme water stress, with nearly 200,000 annual deaths due to inadequate safe water access.
  • By 2030, India’s water demand will double the available supply, leading to severe scarcity for many and a potential 6% loss in GDP.
  • Norms indicate water shortage when availability falls below 1,700 cubic meters per person per year, and “scarcity” below 1,000 cubic meters.
  • India is close to reaching a groundwater risk tipping point, where abrupt and often irreversible environmental changes occur.

What is the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)?

  • NITI Aayog introduced CWMI in 2018 to address India’s water crisis.
  • Developed in collaboration with the Ministries of Water Resources, Drinking Water & Sanitation, and Rural Development.
  • Improve water resource management and conservation.
  • Provide an annual snapshot of water sector status and state/UT water management performance.
  • Measure overall state progress and incremental improvements over time.
  • Promotes data-driven policy decisions and sustainable water resource management.
  • Encourages competitive and cooperative federalism.
  • Facilitates data access for researchers and entrepreneurs.
Themes and Indicators:
  • 9 themes with 28 indicators, covering topics like groundwater and surface water restoration, irrigation, watershed development, water supply, and governance.

NITI Aayog’s Decision to Make CWMI ‘Internal’

  • The first CWMI edition covered data for 2015-16 and 2016-17, while the second edition from August 2019 focused on 2017-18.
  • The 2019-20 report ranked Gujarat as the top-performing state, with consistent year-on-year improvements, closely followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • NITI Aayog has reached out to the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti to discuss the utility and applicability of the Index and whether CWMI should be continued.
  • Despite this, there has been no response from the Ministry, while the third and fourth editions remain pending.
  • The latest report highlights water scarcity as a national issue and anticipates a reduction in average annual per capita water availability, decreasing to 1,486 cubic meters per person per year by 2021 from 1,545 cubic meters per person per year in 2011.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023