Water Resources in India: What They Are, Why They Matter, and How We Can Manage Them

by | Jun 1, 2023

Water Resources in India

Water resources are a lifeline. Whether it’s a hot, sunny day or a cold winter’s day, we all rely on water. On a hot day, nothing beats a glass of cool water to quench your thirst. And in the winter, we prefer to avoid cold water to keep warm. But beyond our daily needs, water is the source of our very existence.

Think about it: about 3/4th of the Earth’s surface is covered by water bodies. They’re the lifeline of our entire ecosystem. So, it’s crucial that we have clean drinking water and manage our resources effectively.

The challenge is to manage the water system in a way that both increases the water supply and meets the demand for water, even when it’s scarce. And water is not just for drinking. We use water in many sectors like agriculture, fishing, and industry. In other words, when we manage water well, we see the benefits. Water is the seed from which we grow.

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India’s Water Resources

India is like a big water park. We’ve got so many water bodies! Our ancestors knew this too. They set up their homes by our rivers and lakes. In fact, “Hindustan”, our country’s name, comes from the word “Sind”, a river near which our country was formed.

Today, India has about 4% of the world’s water. But, back in 2010, we had a whopping 20%! A big chunk of that was groundwater, which isn’t a good long-term option.

Groundwater is pretty important here. About 80% of the water we drink comes from it. So, next time you gulp down a glass of water, remember it’s probably from groundwater.

Water resources in india - Infographic

Types of Water Resources in India

Now, let’s dive into the types of water resources we have in India. We’re pretty lucky – we have lakes, ponds, rivers, and even oceans. This water-rich environment and friendly climate helped our ancient civilizations thrive. We have five main types of water resources:

1. Groundwater

Groundwater This is a vital part of our water resources, tucked away underground. Imagine it as a vast reservoir that’s replenished as water percolates down through soil and rock layers. It’s a significant resource, with India utilizing around 433 billion cubic meters annually. This water is usually accessed by digging wells. It’s a lifeline for many, providing water to 85% of rural areas and 50% of urban locations.

2. Surface Water

Surface Water forms another major chunk of our water resources, visible in our rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans. With around 10,360 rivers, India has an abundance of this water resource. However, we can tap into only about 69% of all this river water.

3. Ocean Water

Although too salty for drinking or household use, ocean water is a valuable resource. It supports fishing and boosts our economy by making our coastlines attractive tourist destinations.

4. Rain Water

Rain Water is an essential part of our surface water resources. We can harness rainwater, store it, and use it for various household tasks. It’s a sustainable way to supplement our water supply.

5. Snow & Ice

Snow and Ice forms of water resources aren’t just for winter wonderlands. They play a crucial role in replenishing our groundwater as they melt and seep into the ground. Every snow-capped peak is quietly contributing to maintaining our water resources.

Now, let’s explore why water resources are so important in India

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Importance of Water Resources in India

Water isn’t just about staying hydrated; it’s a lifeline that touches every aspect of our lives. Our water resources are deeply intertwined with our daily routines, from household chores to business activities.

Think about it – water is involved in everything. We use it to generate electricity, with tidal power being a prime example. It’s involved in manufacturing, cooling systems, and transportation. It’s even used to dilute substances in various industries.

More importantly, our freshwater resources – rainwater, river water, and water from ponds – are critical for survival. Whether it’s drinking, cooking, or personal hygiene, we depend on these water resources every day. So, it’s clear that water resources aren’t just a part of life in India; they are life in India.

Managing Water Resources in India

Water is plentiful, but it needs careful management. Especially in India, where our large population is increasingly facing water scarcity.

Our industries have struggled to manage water resources, leading to pollution. This has highlighted the need for better water resource management.

Let’s look at some key strategies:

1. Watershed Development

This is all about conserving and efficiently using water. It’s applied in agriculture, natural vegetation, and daily chores.

2. Rainwater Harvesting

An old but effective technique. Collect rainwater in a tank, then reuse it around the house.

3. Afforestation

Planting trees helps manage water resources. Trees fend off droughts better than crops, so it’s crucial to plant them on barren and hilly slopes.

4. Water Reservoirs

Ponds and tanks are also useful. These reservoirs of groundwater are often used for household activities.

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Water Resource Projects in India

There are a few key projects in India that focus on water conservation and management:

1. Jal Shakti Initiative

This was started by the government in 2019. Its goal is to clean the Ganges River and manage water disputes. It also encourages people to save water​​.

2. Jal Jeevan Mission

This project also falls under the government’s initiative. Its aim is to bring tap water to every rural home in India by 2024. Many states have already reached this goal​​.

3. National River Linking Project

This project plans to connect rivers through a network of canals and reservoirs. This will help with irrigation and increase groundwater. But it also raises concerns about the environment and society​​.


Water is the heart of our country. It’s essential for every part of our lives, whether we live in the city or the countryside. Because it’s so important, we must take care of our water resources.

The government is already working hard on this. They’ve started many projects to better manage our water. But it’s not just the government’s job. We all need to learn how to use water wisely. By doing this, we can make sure that our water resources last for many generations to come.

Bhuwan Bhatia

Bhuwan Bhatia

Bhuwan Bhatia, an engineering graduate with a diverse background, has been passionate about entrepreneurship since age 13. Founder of edtech startup Technoshaala, Bhuwan now focuses on leading his innovative water management startup, FLOTAA, in Kanpur to create sustainable solutions.
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