National Water policy and its Salient Features

February 23, 2018


  1. National Water Policy, 2012:

    1. Training and research efforts should be intensified as an integral part of water resources development. 

    2. The water sharing / distribution amongst the states should be guided by a national perspective with due regard to water resources availability and needs within the river basin.  

    3. Needs of drought-prone areas should be given priority in the planning of project for development of water resources. These areas should be made less vulnerable through various measures. 

    4. Land erosion by sea or river should be minimized by suitable cost-effective measures. Indiscriminate occupation of, and economic activity in coastal areas and flood plain zones should be regulated. 

    5. Efficiency of utilization should be improved in all the diverse uses of water and conservation consciousness promoted through education, regulation, incentives and disincentives. 

    6. Both surface water and ground water should be regularly monitored for quality. Effluents should be treated to acceptable levels and standards before discharging them into natural streams. Minimum flow should be ensured in the perennial streams for maintaining ecology. 

    7. Private sector participation should be encouraged in planning, development and management of water resources projects for diverse uses, wherever feasible. 

    8. Management of the water resources for diverse uses should incorporate a participatory approach by involving users and other stakeholders along with various governmental agencies, in an effective and decisive manner. 

    9. Adequate emphasis needs to be given to the physical and financial sustainability of existing water resources facilities. There is need to ensure that the water charges for various uses should be fixed such as to cover at least the operation and maintenance charges initially and a part of the capital costs subsequently. 

    10. The exploitation of groundwater should be regulated with reference to recharge possibilities and consideration of social equity. The detrimental environmental consequences of over-exploitation of ground water need to be effectively prevented. 

    11. In the allocation of water, first priority should be given for drinking water, followed by irrigation, hydro-power, ecology, agro-industries and non-agricultural industries, navigation and other uses, in that order. 

    12. Planning of water resources development projects should, as far as possible, be for multi-purpose with an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach having regard to human and ecological aspects including those of disadvantaged sections of the society. 

    13. Water should be made available to water short areas by transfer from other areas including transfer from one river basin to another, after taking into account the requirements of the areas/basins. 

    14. Water resources development and management will have to be planned for a hydrological unit. Appropriate river basin organizations should be established for the planned development and management of the river basins. 

    15. Non-conventional methods for utilization of water such as through inter-basin transfers, artificial recharge of ground water and desalination of brackish or sea water as well as traditional water conservation practices like rainwater harvesting, including roof-top rainwater harvesting, need to be practiced to further increase the utilizable water resources. Promotion of frontier research and development, in a focused manner, for these techniques is necessary. 

    16. Water resources available to the country should be brought within the category of utilizable resources to the maximum possible extent. 

    17. A well developed information system for water related data at national/state level should be established with a network of data banks and data bases integrating and strengthening the existing central and state level agencies. 

    18. Planning, development and management of water resources need to be governed by national perspectives. 


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