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Water availability

India's total renewable per caput water resources in 1985 were 2,011 m3 which stands at 1,820 m3 on 31 March 2001 (Table 1). The total renewable water resources per person, excluding those people in the Brahamputra river basin, are only 1,345 m3. About 103 million people living in the basins of Sabarmati, Kutch and Saurashtra and basin between Pennar and Kanyamkumari have per caput total renewable water resources below 500 m3. More than 90 million people living in the 4 basins of Pennar, Tapi, Cauvery and east flowing rivers between Mahanadi and Pennar have per caput total renewable water resources below 1,000 m3. The per caput renewable water resources in Indus, Ganga, Krishna and Subarnarekha basins are less than 1,700 m3.

Table 3. Per capita water availability in India

Year

Population

(million)

Per capita water availability (cubic metre)

1951

361

5,177

1955

395

4,732

1991

846

2,209

2001

1,027

1,820

2025

1,394 (projected)

1,341

2050

1,640 (projected)

1,140

Water demand

Country's water demand is dominated by irrigation needs. The total water demand for agriculture, domestic and industrial sectors of India in 1995 was estimated to be about 650 km3; of this about 90% is withdrawn for agriculture sector. Different demand scenarios up to year 2050 AD have been estimated by the Ministry of Water Resources and the demands as projected for different years are given in Table 4. There will be a large gap even at the aggregate level between the water availability and requirement by 2050 AD, when the population of the country is expected to stabilize. The entire replinshipable ground water is also assumed to be utilized by 2025 AD. Therefore, to bridge the gap between water availability and requirement, inter basin water transfers by interlinking of rivers may be a viable alternative, which would also take care of the requirement of the water short areas, including drought prone

areas.

Table 4. Estimates of future water demands (BCM) under different scenarios

Category

Year 2010

Year 2025

Year 2050

Low

Medium

High

Low

Medium

High

Low

Medium

High

Irrigation

489.0

536.0

556

619

688

734

830

1,008

1,191

Domestic

39.4

41.6

61

47

52

78

59

67

104

Industrial

37.0

37.0

37

61

67

79

69

81

116

Total

555.4

614.6

654

727

807

881

958

1,156

1,411

 
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