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INDIA'S FIRST COMPREHENSIVE WATER BODIES CENSUS



  Apr 27, 2024

INDIA'S FIRST COMPREHENSIVE WATER BODIES CENSUS



The "Water Bodies First Census Report" released by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti in March 2023 provides a comprehensive inventory of water bodies across India, encompassing both rural and urban settings. This census, an extension of the minor irrigation census conducted every five years since 1986, is notable for its inclusion of various types of water bodies used for multiple purposes such as irrigation, industry, pisciculture, and more. According to the census, India hosts approximately 2,424,540 water bodies, with a vast majority (97%) located in rural areas.

The census categorizes these water bodies into ponds, tanks, reservoirs, and other structures related to water conservation. It highlights that over half (55.2%) of these water bodies are privately owned, underscoring the role of private individuals and entities in their management and conservation. Despite its breadth, the census covers less than half of India’s towns and villages, leading to concerns about its national representativeness.

Additionally, the census addresses issues like encroachment, noting that less than 2% of water bodies are affected, though discrepancies in data and definitions complicate the accuracy of these findings. The initiative aims to bolster water resource management and planning, promote sustainable use, and support conservation efforts across the country. This data serves as a crucial tool for policymakers, conservationists, and local governments in their ongoing efforts to manage and protect India's vital water resources efficiently.

What is the "Water Bodies First Census Report"?

The "Water Bodies First Census Report" represents a significant step in compiling a comprehensive inventory of all water bodies in India, addressing both urban and rural areas. This initiative encompasses various types of water bodies used for diverse purposes including irrigation, industry, pisciculture, drinking, recreation, religion, groundwater recharge, and conservation.

What are the main objectives of conducting this census?

The main objectives of the census are to establish a detailed inventory of water bodies to better understand their distribution, usage, and status across the country. This data aids in effective water resource management, planning for sustainable usage, and conservation efforts aimed at maintaining ecological balance.

How many water bodies are there in India according to the census?

According to the report, there are approximately 2,424,540 water bodies in India. This extensive count underscores the vast resources available and highlights the importance of managing these assets effectively.

What percentage of these water bodies are located in rural areas?

The census indicates that 97% of the water bodies are situated in rural areas, reflecting the critical role these water bodies play in the agricultural and ecological sustainability of these regions.

What types of water bodies are included in the census?

The census includes a variety of water bodies such as ponds, tanks, reservoirs, and structures created for water conservation. This categorization helps in understanding the specific uses and management needs of different types of water bodies.

What is the significance of the private ownership of water bodies?

With 55.2% of water bodies under private ownership, the census highlights the significant role of private individuals and entities in the stewardship and conservation of water resources. This information is crucial for developing collaborative strategies between government and private owners for the conservation and sustainable use of water bodies.

How will this census benefit water resource management?

By providing a detailed and accurate database of water bodies, the census facilitates better planning and implementation of water resource management policies. It helps in identifying priority areas for conservation, understanding the impacts of encroachment on water bodies, and planning infrastructure development to enhance water security.

What future actions are suggested based on the census findings?

The census data serves as a foundational tool for future water management strategies, including the enhancement of existing water conservation programs and the initiation of new projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of water use in agriculture, industry, and urban settings.

These FAQs outline the benefits and aims of India's "Water Bodies First Census Report," emphasizing its importance in enhancing the management and conservation of the country's water resources.



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