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Initiatives in the country

Water being a State subject, initiatives on sustainable water management including conservation and water harvesting in the Country is primarily States’ responsibility. 

However, important measures have been taken by the Central Government for conservation, management of ground water and effective implementation of rain water harvesting in the country

  1. Creation of a new Ministry of Jal Shakti for dealing with all matters relating to water at one place in an integrated manner.
  1. The National Water Policy (2012) has been formulated by Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, inter-alia, advocates rain water harvesting and conservation of water and highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through direct use of rainfall.
    • It also, inter-alia, advocates conservation of river, river bodies and infrastructure should be undertaken in a scientifically planned manner through community participation.
    • Further, encroachment and diversion of water bodies and drainage channels must not be allowed and wherever, it has taken place, it should be restored to the extent feasible and maintained properly.
  1. DoWR, RD &GR has circulated a Model Bill to all the States/UTs to enable them to enact suitable ground water legislation for its regulation and development, which includes provision of rain water harvesting.
    • So far, 15 States/UTs have adopted and implemented the ground water legislation on the lines of Model bill.
  1. Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has issued directions under Section 5 of “The Environment Protection Act, 1986” for mandatory Rain Water Harvesting / Roof Top Rain Water Harvesting for all target areas in the Country including UTs.While granting ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’ for drawing ground water, CGWA insists for mandatory rain water harvesting as per the guidelines issued.
  1. Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under DoWR, RD & GR has also prepared a conceptual document entitled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India”
  1. Besides, CGWB has taken up Aquifer Mapping and Management programme during XII Plan, under the scheme of Ground Water Management and Regulation.
    • The Aquifer Mapping is aimed to delineate aquifer disposition and their characterization for preparation of aquifer/area specific ground water management plans with community participation.
  1. Department of Water Resource, RD&GR has instituted National Water Awards to incentivise good practices in water conservation and ground water recharge.
  1. Mass awareness programmes (Trainings, Seminars, Workshops, Exhibitions, Trade Fares and Painting Competitions etc.) are conducted from time to time each year under the Information, Education & Communication (IEC) Scheme of DoWR, RD & GR in various parts of the Country to promote rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water.
  1. The Ministry of Rural Development in consultation and agreement with the Department of Water Resources, RD & GR and the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare has developed an actionable framework for Natural Resources Management (NRM), titled “Mission Water Conservation” to ensure gainful utilization of funds.
    • The Framework strives to ensure synergies in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), erstwhile Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) now PMKSY-Watershed Development Component and Command Area Development & Water Management (CAD&WM), given their common objectives.
    • Types of common works undertaken under these programmes/schemes are water conservation and management, water harvesting, soil and moisture conservation, groundwater recharge, flood protection, land development, Command Area Development & Watershed Management
  1. Department of Land Resources is currently implementing 8214 watershed development projects in 28 States under the Watershed Development Component (WDC) of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) principally for development of rainfed portions of net cultivated area and culturable wastelands. The major activities taken up under the WDC-PMKSY, inter-alia, include ridge area treatment, drainage line afforestation, soil and moisture conservation, rain water harvesting, horticulture, and pasture development etc.
  1. Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has released Model Building Bye-laws, 2016 which recommends Rainwater Harvesting for all types of Building with plot size 100 sq.m or more. Barring the States/UT of Sikkim, Mizoram and Lakshadweep, all the States have incorporated the provisions in their respective building bye laws.
    • Further, all building having a minimum discharge of 10,000 litre and above per day shall incorporate waste water recycling system. The recycled water should be used for horticultural purposes.
  1. Government of India has approved Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), a Rs. 6000 Crore Central Sector Scheme, for sustainable management of ground water resources with community participation in waterstressed blocks of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and UP

Further, a number of States have done notable work in the field of water conservation/harvesting.  Of these, mention can be made of ‘Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan’ in Rajasthan, ‘Jalyukt Shibar’ in Maharashtra, ‘Sujalam Sufalam Abhiyan’ in Gujarat, ‘Mission Kakatiya’ in Telangana, Neeru Chettu’ in Andhra Pradesh, Jal Jeevan Hariyali in Bihar, ‘Jal Hi Jeevan’ in Haryana among others.

December 2023