Projects Towards Better Management
Introduction: Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program: The Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program (AIBP) was launched during 1996-97 to provide loan assistance to the states to complete some of the incomplete major/medium irrigation projects, which were in an advanced stage of completion. The criteria for AIBP was further relaxed from April 2005 to include minor irrigation schemes of non-special category States with potential of more than 100 ha with preference to Tribal Areas and drought-prone areas.
Extension, renovation and modernization schemes have also been included on a selective basis. Since inception of this program, the State Governments have been provided an amount of Rs. 19,438 core as grant under AIBP up to March 2006 for 200 major/medium irrigation projects and 5519 Surface Minor Irrigation Schemes.
Hydrology Project: The Hydrology Project Phase-I was with the World Bank support in nine states. The project enabled establishment of functional Hydrological Information System (HIS) and an improved institutional capacity of implementing agencies to build, operate and utilize the HIS to the benefit of different user groups. Totally Rs. 605.28 crore was spent till the end of project in December 2003.
Water Quality Assessment Authority: In view of the multiplicity of agencies involved in water management in the country, with inadequate co-ordination among them, the problem of pollution of national water resources has become a matter of serious concern. To circumvent the situation, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, supported the formation of a “Water Quality Assessment Authority” from May 2001.
Command Area Development and Water Management Program: The Centrally sponsored Command Area Development (CAD) Program was launched in 1974-75, with the main objectives of improving the utilization of created irrigation potential and optimizing agriculture production and productivity from irrigated agriculture through a multi-disciplinary team under an Area Development Authority.
The core components of physical works under CAD program are construction of field channels and field drains and implementation of warabandi (rotational water supply).
National project for repair, renovation and restoration of water bodies: This scheme was prepared to take up pilot projects in states for implementation by the State Governments for which funds are released to state. The pilot scheme envisaged a plan outlay of Rs. 300 crore to be shared by the Centre and State in the ratio of 3:1. This scheme was taken up for implementation during the last two years of the Xth Plan. The objectives of the scheme are: a) to restore and augment storage capacities of water bodies, and b) to recover and extend their lost irrigation potential. Once the pilot scheme is completed and validated, it will form the basis for launching of the ‘‘National Water Resources Development Project’’ at much larger scale and spread to be completed in 7 to 10 years (GOI, 2005).
Flood Management: Out of the country’s total geographical area of 32 9 m.ha. About 40 m.ha. of area is prone to floods, out of which 32 million ha Can be provided with reasonable degree of protection. Till March 2004, an area of 16.46 m.ha has been provided with a reasonable degree of protection against floods by construction of embankments, drainage channels, town protection works and by raising platforms. Although flood management comes within the purview of the state governments, the union government is providing central assistance to the flood prone states to take up critical works. The central government is also providing special assistance to the Border States and north eastern states in particular, for taking up certain special priority works.
In order to mitigate the damages from floods, a nationwide Flood Forecasting and Warning System was established by the Central Water Commission on interstate river basins and flood forecasts are being issued through 173 Stations, out of which 145 are river-level forecasting Stations and 28 are inflow forecasting stations on major dams/reservoirs, throughout the country. With reliable advance information about impending floods, loss of human lives and immovable properties, human miseries is reduced to a considerable extent. These measures also benefit the authorities of concerned dams/reservoirs and barrages for systematic operation of the reservoirs for optimum utilization of water resources and for the control of floods (MoWR; GOI, 2006).
River Water Disputes:The major rivers of the country are mostly inter-State rivers. There has been an increasing demand for water in all sectors, sometimes leading to inter-State disputes on sharing of water. Efforts are being made to resolve disputes through negotiations amongst the basin States with the assistance of the central government. Adjudication through the appointment of water dispute tribunal is also resorted when required. The mechanism for settlement of water disputes is already available in the form of ISRWD Act, 1956 which provides for settlement of disputes by negotiations failing of which refers such disputes to a tribunal for adjudication (also see Annex Table 5.5) (GOI, 2006).