Jal Shakti Abhiyaan: Efforts of ICAR on Scientific Water Management

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Context: Jal Shakti Abhiyan – a campaign for water conservation and water security

Relevance:  GS 2, GS 3

CONCERNED MINISTRY: Collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government of India and State Governments, being coordinated by the DDWS(Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation)

  • The campaign runs through citizen participation during the monsoon season, from 1st July 2019 to 15th September 2019.
  • An additional Phase 2 will be run from 1st October 2019 to 30th November for Staes receiving the North East retreating monsoons.
  • The focus of the campaign will be on water-stressed districts and blocks.

Key Facts

  • India with a geographical area of 328 M ha supports more than 18% of the world’s population but has only 4.2% of freshwater resources.
  • The country receives annual precipitation (including snowfall) of almost 4000 billion cubic meters (BCM), which results in an estimated average water potential of 1869 BCM.
  • Per capita annual water availability has declined from 5177 m3 in 1951 to 1508 m3 by 2014 and likely to reduce further to 1465 m3 and 1235 m3 by 2025 and 2050, respectively. The situation may further deteriorate if the anticipated impact of climate change on hydrology and water resources are also considered.
  • Low irrigation efficiency (35-40%), inequity in water distribution, mismatch between irrigation water supply and crop water demand, tail-enders deprivation, irrigation induced salinity and waterlogging are some of the major challenges being faced in the canal commands.
  • In the groundwater irrigated command, indiscriminate withdrawal of groundwater has resulted in the decline of groundwater table in North-Western and Southern regions.
  • The groundwater development in the Eastern region is sub-optimal. (Groundwater development is designed to satisfy a certain demand for water or to assess the groundwater resources of a watershed).
  • The stage of groundwater development in India is 63.3%. However, it is 166%, 140%, 137% and 120% in states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, respectively, which has serious negative consequences.


  • Scheduling irrigation: about 35-40% of water could be saved and a 20-25% reduction in fertilizer use could be ensured by scheduling irrigation.
  • Constructive use of water: Use of recycled water.
  • Proper crop selection: Cultivation of Fruits, Millets, Bajra, and selection of proper varieties of crops.
  • Utilizing modern irrigation technologies: Using Bio mulch and Hydro Gels which ensures a slow release of water and utilizing microbes that help inefficient absorption of water shall help in further ensuring reduced and proper utilization of water in agriculture. Moisture sensors and automated irrigation systems which can be controlled by a farmer using a mobile phone will help in deciding the time and amount of irrigation to be carried out
  • Training and information insemination: Over 10.8 crore farmers have been trained through the Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and 371 melas were conducted across the country from July 1st till date.
  • State Specific Action Plan: Scientific assessment of the supply and demand side of water resources and vulnerability to climate change under the National Water Mission. This will help to formulate annual State/UT Water Budgets and hence, allocation and efficient utilization of available water resources.
  • Ensuring that the groundwater usage for irrigation is reduced: About 80% of the current water use is drawn by agriculture. Out of 140 million ha of net sown area in the country, the net irrigated area accounts for about 68.38 million ha (48.8%) and the remaining 51.2% is under rainfed. Out of the net irrigated area, about 40% is irrigated through canal systems and 60% is irrigated through groundwater.
  • Irrigation Potential Created (IPC) and Irrigation Potential Utilized (IPU): In India is the growing gap between Irrigation Potential Created (IPC) and Irrigation Potential Utilized (IPU), and uneven distribution of water over the length of the canal system. The overall irrigation efficiency of the major and medium irrigation projects is estimated to be around 38%. The efficiency of the surface irrigation system can be improved from about 35-40% to around 50-60% and that of groundwater from about 65-70% to 72-75%.
  • Correcting Low irrigation efficiency: the major areas where the gap to reduce.

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