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Central Water Commission

(Serving the nation since 1945)

Water Info

Water in Indian Constitution

The Constitution of India lays down the legislative and functional jurisdiction of the Union, State and local Governments regarding 'Water'. Under the scheme of the Constitution, 'Water' is basically a State subject and the Union comes in only in the case of inter- state river waters. List II of the Seventh Schedule, dealing with subjects regarding which states have jurisdiction, has the following as Entry 17 :

"Water, that is to say, water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and water power subject to the provisions of Entry 56 of List I Entry 56 of List I (Union list), reads as follows: "Regulation and development of inter- state rivers and river valleys to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union, is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest".

The Constitution has a specific article (Article 262), dealing with adjudication of disputes relating to matters of inter- state rivers or river valleys, which reads as follows:

Article 262 (1): Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication on any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter- state river or river valley.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other Court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1).

The recent 1992 amendments to the Constitution regarding Panchayats and Municipalities introduced the following entries in the schedules listing the subject-areas in which the State Governments and legislatures may devolve functions to such bodies, so as to make them evolve as local self-governing institutions: In the Eighth Schedule (Part IX) dealing with Panchayats, the subjects, ''Minor irrigation, Water management and Watershed development", "drinking water" and "maintenance of community assets" are listed. In the Twelfth Schedule (Part IX A) dealing with municipalities, the subjects "water supply of domestic, industrial and commercial purposes" is listed. Functional responsibilities are, thus, visualised for local Governments in respect of several aspects of water use.

The two laws enacted by the Union under Article 262 and Entry 56 of List I are the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 (as amended up to 1980) and the River Boards Act, 1956. In recent years since the Constitution does not have an entry relating to 'Environment', using the residual powers, the Union has enacted laws on environment and control of pollution, which have effect on water use including ground water and its exploitation. A large number of Acts dealing with irrigation, canals and their maintenance, water rates and cess, command area development and maintenance of tanks are in force in each state. Some of the Acts are as old as the 1860s and 70s.

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1. World - Land and Water Resources at a glance

General

A. Sources of Water (Approximate)

Item Volume (Million BCM)
Salt Water in Oceans 1348
Fresh Water 37.5

B. Sources of Fresh Water (Approximate)

Item Volume (Million BCM)
Polar Ice and Glaciers 28200
Ground Water < 800 m deep 3740
800 - 4000 m deep 4710
Lakes and Rivers 127
Others (soil moisture and atmospheric vapours) 704

Land Resources

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2. India - Land and Water Resources at a glance

A. GENERAL

B. Water Resources

C. Land Resources

D. Hydropower

Land Resources

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3. Water Resources Potential in the Major River Basins of India

Sr. No. Name of the River Basin Average Annual
Potential in the River
Estimated Utilisable Flow (excluding Ground Water)
1 Indus (upto Border) 73.31 46.00
2. a) Ganga 525.02 250.00
  b) Brahmaputra, Barak and others 585.60 24.00
3. Godavari 110.54 76.30
4 Krishna 78.12 58.00
5 Cauvery 21.36 19.00
6 Pennar 6.32 6.86
7 East flowing Rivers between Mahanadi & Pennar 22.52 13.11
8 East Flowing Rivers between Pennar and Kanayakumari 16.46 16.73
9 Mahanadi 66.88 49.99
10 Brahmani & Baitarni 28.48 18.30
11 Subarnarekha 13.37 6.81
12 Sabarmati 3.81 1.93
13 Mahi 11.02 3.10
14 West Flowing Rivers of Kutch, Saurashtra including Luni 15.10 14.98
15 Narmada 45.64 34.50
16 Tapi 14.88 14.50
17 West Flowing Rivers from Tapi to Tadri 87.41 11.94
18 West flowing rivers from Tadri to Kanyakumari 113.53 24.27
19 Area of Island drainage in Rajasthan Desert Neg -
  Minor River Basins drainage to Bangladesh & Myanmar 31.00 -
  Total 1869.35 690.32

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4. Planwise Outlays and Cumulative Growth in Creation of Irrigation Potential (Major & Medium Projects)

Period Outlay/ Expenditure (Rs. Crores) Cumulative Expenditure
(Rs. Crore)
Potential created (m.ha.) Potential Utilized (m.ha)
During Cumulative
Pre-plan period
-
 
9.70
9.70
9.70
I Plan (1951-56
376
376.24
2.50
12.20
12.98
II Plan (1956-61)
380
756.24
2.13
14.33
13.05
III Plan (1961-66)
576
1332.24
2.24
16.57
15.77
Annual Plan (1966-69)
430
1762.05
1.53
18.10
16.75
IV Plan (1969-74)
1242
3005.3
2.60
20.70
18.69
V Plan (1974-78)
2516
5521.5
4.02
24.72
21.16
Annual Plans (1978-80)
2079
7600.10
1.89
26.61
22.62
VI Plan (1980-85)
7369
14968.9
1.09
27.70
23.57
VII Plan (1985-90)
11107
26576.2
2.22
29.92
25.47
Annual Plans (1990-92)
5459
31534.19
0.82
30.74
26.32
VIII Plan (1992-97)
21,072
52606.29
2.22
32.96
28.44
IX Plan (1997-2002)
48259
101896.29
4.09
37.05
31.03
X Plan (2002-2007)
70862*
 
9.93*
46.98*
 

*Provisional

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