NITI Aayog releases composite water management index

In News:

NITI Aayog has recently released its Composite Water Management Index (CWMI 2.0) for  the year 2017-18.

Need for Composite Water Management Index (CWMI):

  • Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme  water stress and about  two lakh people die every  year  due  to  inadequate  access  to  safe  water
  • By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual ~6% loss in the country’s GDP.
  • As per  the  report  of National Commission for Integrated Water Resource Development of MoWR, the water requirement by 2050 in high use scenario is likely to be a milder 1,180 BCM,whereas the present-day availability is 695 BCM.
  • The total availability of water possible in country is still lower than this projected demand, at 1,137 BCM.
  • Thus, there is an imminent need to deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable.
  • Data-based decision making will be a critical lever for effective water management in India.

About: Composite Water Management Index (CWMI)

  • NITI Aayog first launched and conceptualized the Composite Water Management Index in 2018 to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of extreme water stress.
  • The CWMI is the country’s first comprehensive and integrated national dataset for water and is a massive achievement in the context of India’s water management.
  • Objective of the index:
    • establish a clear baseline and benchmark for state-level performance on key water indicators;
    • uncover and explain how states have progressed on water issues over time, including identifying high-performers and under-performers, thereby inculcating a culture of constructive competition among states; and,
    • identify areas for deeper engagement and investment on the part of the states.
  • The Index comprises 9 broad sectors:
    • Source augmentation and restoration of waterbodies
    • Source augmentation (Groundwater)
    • Major and medium irrigation—Supply side management
    • Watershed development—Supply side management
    • Participatory irrigation practices—Demand side management
    • Sustainable on-farm water use practices—Demand side management
    • Rural drinking Water
    • Urban water supply & sanitation
    • Policy and governance
  • These indicators were broken down into 28 objective indicators that include determining whether the State had policies and infrastructure in place to conserve groundwater, or its performance in providing piped water to villages.
  • This has been done through a first of its kind water data collection exercise in partnership with Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Rural Development andall the States/ Union Territories.
  • The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • The Index can reinforce the principle of ‘competitive & cooperative federalism’ in the country and enable innovation in the water ecosystem.
  • The reporting states were divided into two special groups –‘Non-Himalayan states’and ‘Himalayan and NE states’, to account for the different hydrological conditions across these groups.

News Summary:

  • The results of this year’s exercise reveal an overall improvement in State performance, but severe disparities remain between states, and across themes, which must be bridged.
  • For the index, States were required to fill out the necessary data on a NITI Aayog portal and this data was validated by an independent firm called IPE Global.

Key Findings:

  • Approx 80% of the states have shown improvement in their water management scores over the last 3 years.
  • Thirteen of the 27 States and Union Territories have improved their water management practices from last year.

Top performers:

  • Top Performing states: Gujarat, though it dropped a point, topped the rankings for the second year in a row with a score of 75 out of a maximum possible 100.
    • Gujarat is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Top performing states in North Eastern and Himalayan States: Himachal Pradesh has been adjudged number 1 followed by Uttarakhand, Tripura and Assam.
  • Top performing UT: The Union Territories have first time submitted their data and Puducherry has been declared as the top ranker

Most improved states:

  • Largest Improvement: Haryana’s score improved by 26.21 points, due to higher scores on four themes i.e. restoration of water bodies, watershed development, on-farm water use ,and policy and governance.
  • Largest improvement in North Eastern and Himalayan States : Uttarakhand ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States
  • Amongst the 9 themes, states have displayed maximum improvement on the Policy and Governance , with the theme median score rising by 30% over the last three years .
  • Data discipline is also improving , and incidents of states not reporting data have reduced by 70% compared to last year.
  • Improved data reporting practices have also contributed to improvement in states’ Index scores, Haryana being the prime example
  • High performing states have retained top positions.

Low performer states:

  • Low performing states: 16 out of the 27 states still score less than 50 points on the Index (outof100), and fall in the low-performing category.
    • These states collectively account for 48% of the population, 40% of agricultural produce, and 35% of economic output of India.
  • Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Nagaland, and Meghalaya still score less than 40points, and the average improvement in low-performing category over the last three years.
  • Large economic contributors are low performers: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Delhi , 4 of the top 10 contributors to India’s economic output, have scores ranging from 20points to 47points
  • Top Agricultural states are poor performers: None of the top 10 agricultural producers in India, except Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, score more than 60 points on the CWMI
  • This is concerning given that assessment on almost half of the Index scores is directly linked to water management in agriculture.

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