Sources Of Water

Lesson 3: Water resources

Sources Of Water

Rainfall: India can be broadly divided into 15 ecological regions. The vast ecological diversity of this country is reflected in the diversity in available water resources. With an average annual rainfall of 1170 mm, India is one of the wettest countries in the world. However, there are large variations in the seasonal and geographical distribution of rainfall over the country. At one extreme are areas like Cherrapunji, in the northeast, which is drenched each year with 11,000 mm of rainfall, and at the other extreme are places like Jaisalmer, in the west, which receives barely 200 mm of annual rainfall. Though the average rainfall is adequate, nearly three-quarters of the rain pours down in less than 120 days, from June to September.

Groundwater: India's groundwater resources are almost ten times its annual rainfall. According to the Central Groundwater Board of the Government of India, the country has an annual exploitable groundwater potential of 26.5 million hectare-meters. Nearly 85% of currently exploited groundwater is used only for irrigation. Groundwater accounts for as much as 70-80% of the value of farm produce attributable to irrigation. Besides, groundwater is now the source of four-fifths of the domestic water supply in rural areas, and around half that of urban and industrial areas. However, according to the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI), the water table almost everywhere in India is falling at between one to three meters every year. Furthermore, the IIMI estimates that India is using its underground water resources atleast twice as fast they are being replenished. Already, excessive ground water mining has caused land subsidence in several regions of Central Uttar Pradesh.

Surface water: There are 14 major, 44 medium and 55 minor river basins in the country. The major river basins constitute about 83-84% of the total drainage area. This, along with the medium river basins, accounts for 91% of the country's total drainage. India has the largest irrigation infrastructure in the world, but the irrigation efficiencies are low, at around 35%.

Last modified: Wednesday, 28 December 2011, 7:31 AM