CENTRAL WATER COMMISSION (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     6th April 2024        

Context: Despite the fact that peak summer has yet to arrive, water storage in major reservoirs and river basins across the country continues to decline, as recently revealed by data released by the Central Water Commission (CWC).

Key Findings

  • Growing Concern Over Water Shortages: The situation raises alarms for potential drinking water shortages as well as low water availability for agriculture in the coming weeks and months.
  • Dwindling Reservoir Levels Across India: The live storage available in India’s 150 major reservoirs stands at just 35% of their total capacity, lower than last year's levels and the average of the last decade.
  • Water Scarcity in South Indian States: Southern states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana are facing significant water shortages, with reservoirs only filled to 20% of capacity.
  • Impact on Major Dams and Water Sources: Critical dams like Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam are experiencing dwindling water levels, affecting irrigation, drinking water supply, and electricity generation.
  • Water Deficiency Across States: At least 13 out of 21 states monitored by the CWC have water levels below normal, indicating a widespread water deficiency across the country.
  • Declining River Basin Storage: River basins, including major rivers like Krishna and Cauvery, are experiencing declining water levels, with some rivers completely devoid of water for weeks.

Central Water Commission (CWC)

  • About: It operates as an attached office of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, falling under the Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Organizational Structure: Led by a Chairman holding the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Wings Division: Operations are segmented into three wings: Designs and Research (D&R) Wing, River Management (RM) Wing, and Water Planning and Projects (WP&P) Wing.
  • Divisional Authority: Each wing is overseen by a full-time Member, carrying the status of Ex-Officio Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
  • Functions of Central Water Commission

oCoordination and Initiation: Responsible for initiating, coordinating, and advancing schemes in consultation with State Governments for water resource control, conservation, and utilization nationwide.

oScope of Operations: Undertakes investigations, constructions, and execution of schemes related to flood control, irrigation, navigation, drinking water supply, and water power development.