The National Water Policy lays emphasis on integrated water resources development and management for optimal and sustainable utilisation of the available surface and groundwater, creation of well-developed information system, use of traditional methods of water conservation, non conventional methods for water utilisation and demand management have been recognised as important inputs in the revised policy. It integrates quantity and quality aspects as well as environmental considerations for water through adequate institutional arrangements.
The involvement of beneficiaries and stakeholders in the project planning and participatory approach in water resources management has been focused in the policy. The National Water Policy envisages that each state shall formulate its own state water policy backed with an operational Action Plan in a time-bound manner say in two years to achieve the desired objectives of the policy.
The ministry of water resources has formulated an Action Plan for implementation of the National Water Policy 2002, which was deliberated upon with the Non- Government/Voluntary Organisations and experts during August-October 2002. The Action Plan, as finalised after deliberations was put up in the Conference of Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers of States/UT administrations held on 5 February 2003 wherein the same has been adopted.
Central organisations under the Ministry of Water Resources engaged in the development of water resources are the Central Water Commission, Central Soil and Materials Research Station, New Delhi, and six subordinate offices spread over the country.
(i) Central Water Commission:
Set up in 1945, the Central Water Commission (CWC) is the national apex organisation in the field of water resources development. Over the years, the commission has developed considerable technological know-how in planning, formulation, and appraisal, design of water resources development schemes, project monitoring and management and is sharing this knowledge with other developing nations.
The commission, if so required also undertakes the construction and execution of specific projects. Over the years, the commission have developed technical known how in plan formulation, appraisal, design of major hydraulic structures and projects for the development of water resources.
(ii) Central Soil and Materials Research Station:
The Central Soil and Materials Research Station (CSMRS), New Delhi, is a premier organisation in the country, dealing with field exploration, laboratory investigations and basic and applied research in the field of geomechanics and construction of river valley projects.
The Research Station primarily functions as adviser and consultant to various departments of Government of India and State Governments. It also functions as consultant for projects and organisations in India and neighbouring countries.
(i) Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS):
Central Water and Power Research Station is the premier national institute offering comprehensive support to a variety of projects in the fields of water and energy resource development and water borne transport.
Today, the research station is increasingly called upon to advise on projects in fields as diverse as river training and flood control, design of stable channels, irrigation and hydro-electric structures, harbours, waterways, discharge of industrial effluents etc.
Central Ground Water Board:
The CGWB was constituted as the national apex organisation in 1970. The main activities of the Board include macro-level hydrogeological investigations, deep exploratory drilling coupled with remote sensing studies, geophysical studies and pumping tests to study the subsurface hydrogeological features and nation-wide monitoring of the behaviour of water table and water quality through a network of 15,843 hydrograph stations.
In addition to this, a total of 2,239 piezometers, constructed under hydrology project are also monitored for the behaviour of water level. Piezometers are fitted with Digital Water Level Recorder (DWLR) to get continuous ground water levels at desired intervals. The data generated from these investigations provide a scientific base for preparation of ground water development schemes by the state governments.
The Central Ground Water Board carries out exploratory drilling aided by geophysical and remote sensing studies to decipher the potentiality of various geological formations. Under the Accelerated Ground Water Exploration in the six drought affected states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh, the Board has constructed 1,519 tubewells to provide drinking water.
To meet the two fold challenge before the country of increasing water demands and reduction in availability of fresh water, the CGWB has promoted the practice of artificially recharging ground water including rain water harvesting and provides technical know-how for construction of rainwater harvesting structures in the country. Recently the Board has released a publication titled “Ground Water District Maps” and proposes to complete 500 districts maps.
(ii) Farakka Barrage Project:
This organisation is designed to observe the need of preservation and maintenance of the Kolkata Port by improving the regime and navigability of the Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system.
(iii) Ganga Flood Control Commission:
Ganga Flood Control Commission set up in April 1972 serves as the limb of the Ganga Flood Control Board and is primarily concerned with the preparation of comprehensive plan flood control in the Ganga basin and arranging its implementation in a coordinated manner through the states in the basin. The Commission is responsible for technical scrutiny and examination of flood control, drainage, anti-water-logging and anti-erosion schemes in the basin.
(iv) Bansagar Control Board:
In pursuance of an inter-state agreement among Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Bansagar Control Board was constituted in January 1976, with headquarters at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh by the Ministry of Water Resources for efficient, economical and early execution of Bansagar Dam and connected works on the Sone River.
(v) Statutory Bodies:
Four statutory bodies are functioning under the Ministry of Water Resources. These are: Narmada Control Authority, Brahmaputra Board, Betwa River Board and Tungabhadra Board.
(vi) Narmada Control Authority:
Narmada Control Authority (NCA) is an inter-state high level administrative authority set up in 1980 in pursuance of the final orders of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) for the purpose of securing compliance with and implementation of the decision of the tribunal by the four party states, namely Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
(vii) Brahmaputra Board:
The Brahmaputra Board, with headquarters at Guwahati, was established in December 1981, under the Brahmaputra Board Act, 1980, for the planning and implementation of measures for the control of floods and bank erosion in the Brahmaputra valley and for matters connected therewith.
(viii) Betwa River Board:
Rajghat Dam Project on the Betwa, a tributary of the Yamuna, is an interstate project of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In accordance with the agreement between the two states in 1973, Betwa River Board was constituted under the Betwa River Board Act, 1979, for early execution of Rajghat Dam Project.