Water Budgeting in India

India is now the largest user of groundwater worldwide, pumping out 25% of all the groundwater extracted in the world.Water budgeting is the latest effort to solve an increasingly chronic problem in parts of rural India: water scarcity caused by recurring drought and unregulated extraction.

Water budgeting is a water management tool used to estimate the amount of water a landscape will require. It can be calculated for a single irrigation event, on a weekly or monthly basis, or even annually.

1.One of the major reasons for steep decline in per capita availability of Water and for increase in the area under water scarcity, recurrence of floods and quality challenges is lack of effective control on annual water consumption (demand) exceeding the annual water availability (supply) and omissions to monitor and protect quality of water sources from contamination. Water budget, in its elementary form, can be rep-resented by the equation:

Total rainfall input = Surface water flows+ Groundwater recharge+ Evapotranspiration This equation neglects stream inflows into India from outside its borders.

2.India’s water resources are not evenly distributed. Half of India’s annual precipitation falls in just 15 rain-soaked days, making floods and droughts a fact of life in the country. India does not so much face a water crisis as a water management crisis, calling for a fundamental reassessment of the way the country manages water.

3.India is the world’s largest user of groundwater, most of it for irrigation. In order to water the high-yielding crops introduced in a national program known as the Green Revolution, farmers across India dug hundreds of thousands of borewells and tubewells to pump water to the surface.

4.Another reason is attributed to the all encompassing reason,Climate change and Global Warming.This has caused phenomena such as Indian Monsoon to become more erratic year by year, thus adding to the water woes of the country.

Some of the examples of steps towards Water Budgeting or climate resilient water rationing are as follows:

Every year many of the inhabitants of Jalna, Maharashtra, are forced to buy drinking water as their wells dry up through the burning summers

But things were different in the village of Kolegaon. Residents there were able to create a water budget after the last monsoon and make their water last a little longer. They measured the rainfall with gauges, calculated how much water had accumulated in their wells and storage structures, then worked out what would be left over after their main crop was harvested

Kolegaon is one of a growing number of villages in Jalna and across the state of Maharashtra that is experimenting with water budgeting to cope with recurring droughts

There is also the colonial legacy to contend with. Traditionally, Indian villages managed water largely as a community resource, as seen in the ancient temple tanksof southern India and the community step wells of the northwest that acted as water harvesting and storage structures. Colonial rule slowly changed those customs through new tax and legal systems, including an easement law that attached water under the ground to the landowner above it. Agricultural intensification since independence further encouraged farmers to prioritise short-term gains in productivity over the long-term health of the water supply.

Reversing this trend requires local leadership or economic incentives.

A new ‘Jal Shakti’ Ministry, in which the erstwhile ministries of Water Resources and Drinking Water and Sanitation will be merged, has  also been formed

Kerala soon is going to enact a State Water Budget.Water Resources Department is all set to come up with a water budget to assess availability of water and the state’s requirement, in addition to introducing better water management practices.he budget will propose various measures to conserve water resources across the state and come up with comprehensive plans for water utilisation. The project’s aim is to implement water utilisation schemes from December

A new World Bank supported project Atal Bhujal Yojna has emerged.The development objective of Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY) – National Groundwater Management Improvement Program for India is to improve the management of groundwater resources in selected states.
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