India’s first water bodies census : Key Highlights

water bodies census

India’s first water bodies census : Key Highlights

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has released the report of India’s first water bodies census, a comprehensive data base of ponds, tanks, lakes, and reservoirs in the country. under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Irrigation Census”. The census was conducted in 2018-19, and enumerated more than 2.4 million water bodies across all states and Union Territories. The objective of the Census of Water Bodies is to develop a national database for all water bodies by collecting information on all important aspects of the subject including their size, condition, status of encroachments, use, storage capacity, status of filling up of storage etc.

Definition of a Water body

All natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes (e.g. industrial, pisciculture, domestic/drinking, recreation, religious, ground water recharge etc.) will be treated as water bodies in this Census. These are usually of various types known by different names like tank, reservoirs, ponds and bundhies etc. A structure where water from ice-melt, streams, springs, rain or drainage of water from residential or other areas is accumulated or water is stored by diversion from a stream, nala or river will also be treated as water body.

Following type of water bodies are excluded:

  • Ocean, lagoons.
  • River, Stream, spring, waterfalls, canals etc. which are free flowing without any bounded storage of water.
  • Swimming Pool.
  • Covered Water tank created for specific purpose by any individual family or household for their sole consumption.
  • Water tank constructed by any factory owner for consumption of water as raw material or consumable.
  • Temporary water bodies created by digging for mining, brick kilns, and construction activities.These may get filled up during rainy season.
  • Pucca open water tank created only for drinking for cattle.

Key Highlights

  • The First Census of Water Bodies conducted in convergence with the 6″ MI Census resulted in substantial savings in respect of planning, training of field staff, security, data entry, validation etc. because the coverage area of both the Censuses in rural area is same. The First Census of Water Bodies also covered urban areas and took into account all types of uses of Water Bodies like Irrigation, Industry, Pisciculture, Domestic/Drinking, Recreation, Religious purpose, Ground Water Recharge and other purposes.
  • 24,24,540 water bodies have been enumerated in the country, out of which 97.1% (23,55,055) are in rural areas and only 2.9% (69,485) are in urban areas.
  • 59.5% (14,42,993) of water bodies are ponds, followed by tanks (15.7%, i.e 3,81,805), reservoirs (12.1%, i.e 2,92,280), Water conservation schemes/percolation tanks/check dams (9.3%, i.e 2,26,217), lakes (0.9%, i.e 22,361) and others (2.5%, i.e 58,884).
  • West Bengal has highest number of ponds & reservoirs, whereas Andhra Pradesh has highest number of tanks, Tamil Nadu has highest number of lakes and Maharashtra is the leading state for water conservation scheme.
  • A major proportion of water bodies i.e., 83.7% (20,30,040) are in use whereas remaining 16.3% (3,94,500) are not in use on account of drying up, construction, siltation, destroyed beyond repair, salinity and other reasons.
  • Most of the water bodies are used in pisciculture, followed by irrigation, ground water recharge and domestic/drinking purpose.
  • 55.2% (13,38,735) of water bodies are owned by private entities whereas 44.8% (10,85,805) of water bodies are in the domain of public ownership. Out of all public owned water bodies, maximum water bodies are owned by Panchayats, followed by State Irrigation/State WRD. Out of all private owned water bodies, maximum water bodies are in hands of Individual owner/farmer followed by group of individuals and other private bodies.
  • 9.6% (2,32,637) water bodies are located in tribal areas, 8.8% (2,13,454) in flood prone areas, 7.2% (1,74,592) in the area under “Drought Prone Areas Programme”, 2% (49,470) water bodies are in the naxal affected areas, 0.7% (16,018) under Desert Development Programme (DDP) whereas remaining 71.7% (17,38,369) water bodies are located in other areas.
  • 78% (18,90,463) of enumerated water bodies are man-made whereas the remaining 22% (5,34,077) are natural water bodies. In terms of storage capacity, 50% (12,12,283) water bodies have storage capacity between 1,000 to 10,000 cubic meters whereas 12.7% (3,06,960) have storage capacity more than 10,000 cubic meters.
  • Out of 24,24,540 enumerated water bodies, the information on ‘water spread area’ have been reported in respect of 23,37,638 water bodies. Out of these 23,37,638 water bodies, 72.4% of water bodies have water spread area less than 0.5 hectare, whereas only 3.1% of water bodies have water spread area more than 5 hectares.
  • 90.1% of the ‘in use’ water bodies are fulfilling requirements of upto 100 people, whereas 1.7% water bodies are fulfilling the requirements of more than 50,000 people. In terms of benefits to city/towns, 88.6% water bodies are benefitting one city/town/village, 10.6% are benefitting 2-5 city/town/village whereas remaining 0.8% are benefitting more than 5 cities/towns/villages. For the first time, information on encroachment of water bodies is collected under the 1st Census of Water Bodies. 1.6% water bodies out of all the enumerated water bodies are reported to be encroached out of which 95.4% are in rural areas and remaining 4.6% in urban areas. Out of all encroached water bodies, 62.8% water bodies have less than 25% area under encroachment, whereas 11.8% water bodies have more than 75% area under encroachment.
  • Out of all water bodies, 2,29,889 are covered in District Irrigation Plan/State Irrigation Plan. Among these 86,453 are ponds and the remaining 1,43,436 are tanks, lakes, reservoirs etc.
  • The information on ‘filled up storage capacity’ has been collected for 21,39,439 water bodies which are ponds/tanks/lakes/reservoirs. Out of these water bodies, 41.4% (8,86,197) water bodies had fully filled up storage capacity, 28.5% (6,08,879) had storage capacity filled upto three fourth level, whereas 6.9% (1,48,367) had nil/negligible storage capacity.

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India’s first water bodies census : Key Highlights / India’s first water bodies census : Key Highlights

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