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Surface Water
  Surface Water
1. What is surface water?
Surface water is collection of water on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean. Surface water is naturally replenished by precipitation and naturally lost through discharge to evaporation and sub-surface seepage into the groundwater. The availability of surface water in a watershed depends upon the precipitation within the watershed, storage capacity of the watershed (lakes, wetlands and artificial reservoirs), permeability of the soil, runoff characteristics of the land, timing of precipitation and the local evaporation rates etc.
2. Impact of human behavior on Surface water?
Human behavior has a huge impact on surface water, mostly on the negative side. Humans often increase storage capacity by constructing reservoirs and decrease it by draining wetlands. Especially Urbanization has a huge devastating impact. The construction of pavement and buildings, do not allow percolation of the water down through the soil to the aquifer. It instead forces the runoff directly into streams or storm water runoff drains, where erosion and siltation can be major problems, even when flooding is not. This leads to the lesser ground water recharge, thus lowering the water table and making droughts worse, especially for farmers and others who depend on the water wells.
When anthropogenic contaminants are dissolved or suspended in runoff, the human impact is expanded to create water pollution. The contaminants may be from household, industry, streets and others. This pollutant load can reach various receiving waters such as streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and oceans with resultant water chemistry changes to these water systems and their related ecosystems. Some of the major rivers in India like Yamuna, Narmada, Ganga (considered as Holy River) are also the victim of human pollution. Less available fresh water is getting even lesser due to human interference.
3. World - Land and Water Resources at a glance (Source CWC)
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 ('000 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 vapors) 704
Land Resources
Land Area (2002) 13068 M. ha.
Arable Land (2003) 1402 M. ha.
Permanent Crops (2003) 138 M. ha.
Permanent Pasture (2003) 343 M. ha.
Forest (2005) 3952 M. ha.
4. India - Land and Water Resources at a glance (Source CWC)
Geographical area 329 M. ha.
Area as % of world area 2.4 %
Forest cover 20.97 %
Population as on 1.3.2006 1114.2 million
Population as % of world population 17.2 %
Annual rainfall (2005) 1208 mm
Major river basins 12
(catchment area > 20,000 sq. km) 253 M. ha.
Medium River Basins 46
(catchment area < 20,000 sq. km.) 24.6 M. ha.
B. Water Resources
Average annual Precipitation 4000 BCM
Avg. precipitation during Monsoon (Jun-Sept) 3000 BCM
Natural Runoff 1986.5 BCM
Estimated utilizable surface water resources 690 BCM
Total utilizable ground water resources 433 BCM
Total annual utilizable water resources 1123 BCM
Per capita water availablity 1720.29 cum
C. Land Resources
Total cultivable land (2003-04) 183 M. ha.
Ultimate irrigation potential 140 M. ha.
Gross sown area ((2003-04) 190.5 M. ha.
Net sown area (2003-04) 141.0 M. ha.
Gross irrigated area (2003-04) 75.3 M. ha.
Net irrigated area (2003-04) 55.1 M. ha.
Food grain production during 1950-51 50.8 MT
food grain production during 2004-05 198.3 M.T.
D. Hydropower
Hydropower potential assessed (as on 31.03.06) 84044 MW @ 60% LF
Installed capacity (2004-05) 30942 MW
Potential developed as on 31.03.06 16032 MW @60% LF
Potential under development 4714 MW
Large dams completed 4050
Storages in large dams 213 BCM
5. Availability and potential
6. Major River Basins of the country  (Source MoWR & CWC)
Sl. No. Name of the River Origin Length (Km.) Catchment Area (Sq. Km.) Average Annual
Potential in the River
Potential in the River Estimated Utilisable Flow (excluding Ground Water)
1 Indus Mansarovar(Tibet) 1114 + 321289 + 73.31 46.00
2 a) Ganga Gangotri (Uttar Kashi) 2525 + 861452 + 525.02 250.00
b) Brahmaputra Kailash Range(Tibet) 916 + 194413 + 585.60 24.00
c) Barak & other rivers flowing into Meghna, like Gomti, Muhari, Fenny etc.     41723 +
3 Sabarmati Aravalli Hills(Rajasthan) 371 21674 3.81 1.93
4 Mahi Dhar (Madhya Pradesh) 583 34842 11.02 3.10
5 Narmada Amarkantak(Madhya Pradesh) 1312 98796 45.64 34.50
6 Tapi Betul (Madhya Pradesh) 724 65145 14.88 14.50
7 Brahmani & Baitarni Ranchi (Bihar) 799 39033 28.48 18.30
8 Mahanadi Nazri Town(Madhya Pradesh) 851 141589 66.88 49.99
9 Godavari Nasik(Maharashtra) 1465 312812 110.54 76.30
10 Krishna Mahabaleshwar(Maharashtra) 1401 258948 78.12 58.00
11 Pennar Kolar(Karnataka) 597 55213 6.32 6.86
12 Cauvery Coorg(Karnataka) 800 81155 21.36 19.00
Some additional major river basins as identified by CWC
S.No Name of the River Average Annual
Potential in the River
Potential in the River
Estimated Utilisable Flow (excluding Ground Water)
13 East flowing Rivers between Mahanadi & Pennar 22.52 13.11
14 East Flowing Rivers between Pennar and Kanayakumari 16.46 16.73
15 Subarnarekha 13.37 6.81
16 West Flowing Rivers of Kutch, Saurashtra including Luni 15.10 14.98
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 -
20 Minor River Basins drainage to Bangladesh & Myanmar 31.00 -
NOTE: Elevation map of each basin can also put with a link to WRIS website
Click Here for map of Indus river basin
7. Medium River Basins of the Country (Source MoWR & CWC)
S. No. Name of the River Village/Distt. (Origin) State Length (Km.) Catchment area (Sq.Km)
1 Ozat Kathiawar Gujarat 128 3189
2 Shetrunji Dalkania Gujarat 182 5514
3 Bhadar Rajkot Gujarat 198 7094
4 Aji Rajkot Gujarat 106 2139
5 Dhadhar Panchmahal Gujarat 135 2770
6 Purna Dhosa Maharashtra 142 2431
7 Ambika Dangs Maharashtra 142 2715
8 Vaitarna Nasik Maharashtra 171 3637
9 Dammanganga Nasik Maharashtra 143 2357
10 Ulhas Raigarh Maharashtra 145 3864
11 Savitri Pune Maharashtra 99 2899
12 Sastri Ratnagiri Maharashtra 64 2174
13 Washishthi Ratnagiri Maharashtra 48 2239
14 Mandvi Belgaum Karnataka 87 2032
15 Kalinadi Belgaum Karnataka 153 5179
16 Gangavati or Bedti (in upper reaches) Dharwar Karnataka 152 3902
17 Sharavati Shimoga Karnataka 122 2209
18 Netravati Dakshina Kannada Karnataka 103 3657
19 Chaliar or Baypore Elamtalvi Hills Kerala 169 2788
20 Bharathapuzha (known as Ponnani) Annamalai Hills Tamil Nadu 209 6186
21 Periyar Sivajini Hills Kerala 244 5398
22 Pamba
Kerala 176 2235
East Flowing Rivers
23 Burhabalang Mayurbahanj Orissa 164 4837
24 Baitarni Keonjhar Orissa 365 12789
25 Rushikulya Phulbani Orissa 146 7753
26 Bahuda Ramgirivillage Orissa 73 1248
27 Vamsadhara Kalahandi Orissa 221 10830
28 Nagavali Kalahandi Orissa 217 9410
29 Sarda Vishakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh 104 2725
30 Eleru Vishakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh 125 3809
31 Vogarivagu Guntur Andhra Pradesh 102 1348
32 Gundlakamma Kurnool Andhra Pradesh 220 8494
33 Musi Nellore Andhra Pradesh 112 2219
34 Paleru Nellore Andhra Pradesh 104 2483
35 Muneru Nellore Andhra Pradesh 122 3734
36 Swarnamukhi Koraput Orissa 130 3225
37 Kandleru Vinukonda Andhra Pradesh 73 3534
38 Kortalaiyar Chinglepet Tamil Nadu 131 3521
39 Palar (including tributary Cheyyar) Kolar Karnataka 348 17871
40 Varahandi North Arcot Tamil Nadu 94 3044
41 Ponnaiyar Kolar Karnataka 396 14130
42 Vellar Chithri Hills Tamil Nadu 193 8558
43 Vaigai Madurai Tamil Nadu 258 7031
44 Pambar Madurai Tamil Nadu 125 3104
45 Gundar Madurai Tamil Nadu 146 5647
46 Vaippar Tirunolvolli Tamil Nadu 130 5288
47 Tambraparni Tirunolvolli Tamil Nadu 130 5969
48 Subarnarekha Nagri/Ranchi Bihar 395 19296
Total 248505
8. Number of ongoing Major, Medium Irrigation Projects
9. State-Wise Details Of Net Irrigated Area (NIA), Net Sown Area (NSA) And Percentage Of NIA To NSA
10. Plan-wise position of irrigation potential created and utilized
11. Water in Indian Constitution (Source MoWR)
India is union of States. The constitutional provisions in respect of allocation of responsibilities between the State and Centre fall into three categories: The Union List (List-I), the State List (List-II) and the Concurrent List (List-III). Article 246 of the Constitution deals with subject matter of laws to be made by the Parliament and by Legislature of the States. As most of the rivers in the country are inter-State, the regulation and development of waters of these rivers, is a source of inter-State differences and disputes. In the Constitution, water is a matter included in Entry 17 of List-II i.e. State List. This entry is subject to the provision of Entry 56 of List-I i.e. Union List.
  • Article 246
    • Notwithstanding anything in clauses (2) and (3), Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in the seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the "Union List").
    • Notwithstanding anything in clause (3), Parliament, and, subject to clause (1), the legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the "Concurrent List").
    • Subject to clauses (1) and (2), the Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the "State List").
    • Parliament has power to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included in a State notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in the State List.
  • Article 262
  •     In case of disputes relating to waters, Article 262 provides:
    • Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of 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.
    • 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).
  • Entry 56 of List I of Seventh Schedule
    • Entry 56 of List I of Seventh Schedule provides that "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".
  • Entry 17 under List II of Seventh Schedule
    • Entry 17 under List II of Seventh Schedule provides that "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".
    • As such, the Central Government is conferred with powers to regulate and develop inter-State rivers under Entry 56 of List I of Seventh Schedule to the extent declared by the Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest.
    • It also has the power to make laws for the adjudication of any dispute relating to waters of Inter-State River or river valley under Article 262 of the Constitution.
12. National Water Policy (Source MoWR)
a. National Water Policy 2001
b. Background Note for consultation meeting on review of National Water Policy held on 28.7.2010
c. Summary record of discussions at the consultation meeting with policy makers for review of national water policy held on 28.7.2010
13. Some important tips for water conservation
There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Take a 1-gallon bucket into the shower with you. If it fills in less than 20 seconds, replace your shower head with a water-efficient, ultra-low-flow version. It can save up to 500 gallons of water a week.
  • Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. Don't water the garden or the lawn when it's windy.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
  • Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
  • Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it's needed.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
  • Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. Throw tissues and other debris into a trash can to avoid flushing unnecessarily.
  • Bathe your pets outside in an area that needs watering.
14. State and basin wise reports
To view state and basin wise reports navigate to WRIS web site http://www.india-wris.nrsc.gov.in/ and click on 'Downloads' menu.
15. Surface Water Purpose Driven Studies (PDSs) undertaken by different State Government Agencies:
PDS No. PDS Name Cost (Lakh) Principal Investigator
Andhra Pradesh
SW-AP-1 Reservoir sedimentation studies in AP 50 SE-HP,SW,
Mr Y.V. Chalam
SW-CH-1 Study of reservoir sedimentation, impact assessment and development of catchment area treatment plan for Kodar reservoir 34.3 DK Sonkusale,
EE WR&GW surv Circle, Raipur
SW-CH-2 Water availability study and supply-demand analysis in Seonath sub-basin 57.96 DK Sonkusale,
EE WR&GW surv Circle, Raipur
SW-GJ-1 Crop water requirement of central province of Gujarat for optimum utilisation of irrigation water 15.65 CE&Dir, GERI,
Mr M.A.Shaikh
SW-GJ-2 Study of WQ fluctuation in river Vishwamitri 6.24 CE&Dir, GERI,
Mr K.L.Dave
SW-GJ-3 Study of trend in WQ of locations identified as hot spots 5.25 CE&Dir, GERI,
Mr K.L.Dave
SW-GJ-4 Monitoring of WQ fluctuations in river Sabarmati 7.35 CE&Dir, GERI,
Mr K.L.Dave
Himanchal Pradesh
SW-HP-1 Study of impact of river/Khad Bed on water sources (water winning structures) and evolution of policy and guidelines to prevent adverse impact 30 XEN-Hyd, HP,
Sh. Sanjev Kaul
SW-HP-2 Suggested short and long term measures for combating water stress in identified areas of HP 75 XEN-Hyd, HP,
Sh. Sanjev Kaul
SW-KN-1 Study of water samples at various sites in southern Karnataka 17.2 CE Hyd, Wat Res Dept - but PI is
Sh. H.K.Nagaraja, KERS
SW-KL-1 Comprehensive assessment of WQ in Kerala State by Kerala State Irrigation Dept, GW Dept and Hard Rock Regional Centre NIH, Belgaum 189.36 CE Ker Irr Dept,
Mr R. Rajasekharan Nair plus
Dir Ker GW Dept
Mr V.P. Radharikrishnan Pillai
Madhya Pradesh
SW-MP-1 EIA of Bhopal Lake Basin with emphasis on point and non-point sources of pollution including pesticides and fertilisers used in agricultural fields 52.48 CE-BODHI, WQ Lab II+, Bhopal
SW-MH-1 Optimisation of G&D stations network of Maharashtra 24 HT Mendhegri, CE-HP-SW, Nasik & RK Niturkar, SE
SW-MH-2 Effect of changing water allocation in Nathsagar project, Jayakawadi Dam, Paithon, District Aurangabad 51.32 HT Mendhegri, CE-HP-SW, Nasik & MK Pokale, SE
SW-NIH-1 Integrated approach for snowmelt runoff studies and effect of anthropogenic activities in Beas Basin (BBMB) 77.5 Dr Sanjay Jain & Dr Sharad Jain, NIH, Roorkee
SW-NIH-2 Impact of sewage effluent of drinking water sources of Shimla city and suggested ameliorative measures (H.P.) 70.78 Dr VK Choubey, NIH, Roorkee
SW-NIH-3 Hydrological assessment of ungauged catchments (small catchments ) Mahanadi sub-basin (Orissa) 67.5 Dr PK Bhunya, NIH, Roorkee
SW-NIH-4 Urban hydrology for Chennai city (Tamil Nadu) OR Storm water management in Otteri Nalluh sub basin,Chennai Corporation, Chennai,Tamilnadu 92.04 YR Satyaji Rao, NIH, Kakinada
SW-OR-1 WQ monitoring and modelling of Taldanda Canal, Orissa 24 AK Nayak, Dir-HP-SW, GoO
SW-OR-2 Modelling of sediment yield and distribution in Hirakund Reservoir 24 AK Nayak, Dir-HP-SW, GoO
SW-BBMB-1 Assessment of effects of sedimentation on the capacity/life of BFhakra Reservoir (Gobind Sagar) on rivers Satlej and Pong Reservoir on river Beas 51 XEN-RM&SR, BBMB,
Mr V.K. Manan