Mains Daily Question
Feb. 22, 2024

Q3. Discuss the challenges faced in achieving sustainable use and management of water resources in India. Suggest a comprehensive strategy for water conservation and management in India.(10M, 150W)

Model Answer

Approach to the answer:   

Understanding and structuring the answer:   

The question has two main headings: 1) Challenges faced in achieving sustainable use and management of water resources and 2) Comprehensive strategy for water conservation and management in India. Additionally, provide a case study for a comprehensive answer.   


Type 1: State the situation of the water crisis and quote the country’s vision regarding the crisis. 

Type 2: Write a comprehensive introduction by mentioning the challenges, objectives and the significance of water conservation efforts. Quote some relevant data.  


Heading 1: Challenges faced in achieving sustainable use and management of water resources: Enlist the hurdles in achieving sustainable management of water resources.   

Heading 2: Comprehensive strategy for water conservation and management in India: Enlist multidimensional approaches towards water conservation. For value addition, use institutional data and a case study.      

Conclusion: Give a forward-looking conclusion: Mention the need for adopting a comprehensive strategy for sustainable water management. 


Answer: India has 18% of the world’s population, but only 4% of its water resources, making it among the most water-stressed in the world. Count’s  per capita water availability is around 1,100 cubic meter which is well below the internationally recognized threshold of water stress of 1,700 cubic meter per person.(WB)

Country's vision is sustainable development, maintenance of quality and efficient use of water resources to match with the growing demands. Integrated water management is vital for poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development. 

Challenges faced in achieving sustainable use and management of water resources: 

  • Population growth and rapid urbanisation has increased demand for water for drinking, sanitation, agriculture and industrial purposes. 
  • For example: A ‘grave water risk’ will be faced by 30 Indian cities by 2050 due to overcrowding (WWF 2020 report). 
  • Groundwater depletion due to inefficient irrigation techniques leading to declining water tables. 
  • For example: 89% of groundwater extracted is used for irrigation purposes. 
  • Ineffective waste water management and pollution due to influx of industrial discharge, untreated sewage and agricultural runoff, hindering the management process. 
  • For example: India’s water treatment capacity is less than 30% (CPCB report). 
  • Governance & institutional challenges include inadequate enforcement of regulations, lack of departmental coordination and water disputes between states.  
  • For example: Lack of financial support, Cauvery river dispute, etc. 
  • Climate change induces situations like erratic rainfall patterns, increased frequency of droughts and floods, melting of glaciers, etc. 
  • For example: Sea level rises lead to storm surges in coastal regions, polluting freshwater resources. 

Comprehensive strategy for water conservation and management in India: 

  • Encouraging groundwater management and water-efficient practices in agriculture, industries and domestic sectors using reduce, recycle & reuse methodology. 
  • For example: Per Drop More Crop under PMKSY, watershed management, etc.  
  • Policy and governance support to address water allocation issues, pollution control and sustainable water management.  
  • For example: AMRUT 2.0 making cities water secure, Atal Bhujal Yojana for groundwater management.  
  • Research and technological interventions to enforce data-driven decision-making and innovation with cost efficiency. 
  • For example: Use of soil-moisture sensors, ISRO's Bharat Krishi Satellite programme, etc.  
  • Adapting to climate change using climate smart agriculture techniques, implementing drought and flood management measures, promoting water-efficient crop varieties, etc. 
  • For example: Sahi Fasal campaign (National Water Mission). 
  • Enhancing public awareness and international collaboration for realising the full potential of water conservation initiatives. 
  • For example: LiFE mission initiatives, rainwater harvesting, etc. 

Case study- Israel's pioneering water conservation includes advanced drip irrigation, precision agriculture, treated wastewater reuse, water pricing reforms, public awareness campaigns and comprehensive planning, enhancing efficiency and conservation in a water-scarce nation. 

In the face of growing water scarcity and increasing demands, adopting sustainable water management practices and drawing inspiration from successful countries can pave the way for a future where water resources are conserved and efficiently utilized for generations to come. 



Subjects : Environment
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