The World Water Day is observed on March 22 every year to highlight the significance of freshwater and promote sustainable management of water resources.
The theme of this UN observance day focuses on topics related to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) that is in accordance with the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 6. This year’s theme is ‘Water and Climate Change’.
Odisha’s Water Management Index
As per Niti Aayog’s composite water management index released in August 2019, Odisha exhibits the largest decline in water management over the last three years. Out of 24 states surveyed, the state reported highest decrease of 7.27 points from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
Its rank slid by five positions, from 9th in 2015-16 to 14th in 2017-18.
Odisha also witnessed the highest drop of 29 percentage points in lining of identified canals and distribution networks, from 54 in 2015-16 to 25 in 2017-18.
The state has not been able to enact legislations for rainwater harvesting in public and private buildings and supporting protection and preventing encroachment of water bodies.
The eastern Indian state also emerged as a bottom performer when it came to:
- Number of projects assessed and identified for the IPC-IPU gap out of the total number of major and medium irrigation projects
- Drinking water access as well as water infrastructure coverage at household level in rural areas
- Village households provided with 24×7 piped drinking water supply
- Policies put in place by the state governments to enable effective water resource management
Where does Odisha stands compared to other states?
Nationally, 19 of 24 assessed states (79%) have registered better water management scores, with an average improvement of +5.2 points.
Haryana has reported the highest progress with 26.21 points from 2015-16 to 2017-18. Goa is the second top performing state with an improvement of 14.44 points in the past three fiscals, followed by Uttarakhand with an increase of 13.05 points.
However, it is a matter of concern that 16 out of 27 states still score less than 50 points on the Index (out of 100).
Where Odisha is performing well?
The state is performing well in the following areas:
- It is supplying drinking water to more than 90% of its rural population.
- It has constructed over 90% of its targeted water harvesting structures, and geo-tagged 90% of them.
- Its irrigation potential utilization improved over the past three years.
What best practices can be adopted by Odisha?
For better management of its freshwater resources and their sustainable usage, Odisha needs to:
- Segregate power feeders
- Enact conservation legislation
- Set up an integrated water data centre
- Line more canals
- Assess projects for IPU-IPC (irrigation potential utilised-irrigation potential created) gaps
What it can learn from other states?
Odisha needs to learn from several state governments’ initiatives on water management and utilization of their resources. Some of them are:
Andhra Pradesh’s Neeru-Chettu programme: The Andhra Pradesh government rolled out Neeru-Chettu programme to make the state drought-proof and decrease economic inequities through better water conservation and management practices.
Gujarat’s Sujalam Sufalam Yojana: The Gujarat government launched Sujalam Sufalam Yojana to deepen water bodies prior to monsoons and enhance water storage for rainwater collection.
Madhya Pradesh’s Kapil Dhara Yojana: The government of Madhya Pradesh launched Kapil Dhara Yojana to develop irrigation facilities on small and marginal farmers’ private lands, through the construction of dug wells, farm ponds, and check dams.
Maharashtra’s Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan: The Maharashtra government launched Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan to make 5000 villages water scarcity free, every year and the state drought-free.
Punjab’s Pani Bachao Paise Kamao: The Punjab government launched Pani Bachao Paise Kamao under which farmers are provided with a fixed electricity quota. They receive INR 4 per kilowatt hour for every unit of electricity saved through direct benefit transfers (DBTs).
Telangana’s Mission Kakatiya programme: The government of Telangana launched a flagship programme named Mission Kakatiya to restore over 46,000 tanks across the state and bring more than 20 lakh acres land under cultivation.
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