Indian Water Resource Research Using Remote Sensing, as Reflected by the Web of Science during 2009-2018: A Bibliometric Study


Water is one of the most important resources on Earth and the dependency of all living beings on it makes it all the more important. It has already been stated by many that, if a third world war happens, water will be the main reason behind it, and Fergusson (2015) has claimed that soon world would be at war over water. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Reports have identified water availability as one of the three greatest challenges worldwide (World Economic Forum, 2020). It is impossible for humans to substitute water with any other resource for most of its uses, and it is expensive to transport and difficult to de-pollute; hence, it is a precious gift from nature to us. Many countries are investing huge amounts of research and money to find water on other planets of the universe, a goal which underlines the significance of water to human beings. There are two important type of usable water, i.e. underground water and surface water. Both surface and underground water play vital roles in all types of development, such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, hydropower, recreational activities, livestock production, etc. Understanding of the Earth’s surface is essential to understand the hydrological cycle, especially in a climate change environment. Researchers throughout the world are working on freshwater resources, developing models to achieve sustainable water management for a continuously growing world population. (Tiwari, Wahr, and Sweson, 2009).


India receives annual precipitation of about 4000 billion m3 of water, of which about 60% is usable. Of the usable water, about 40% is ground water, while 60% is surface water (Sorsa, Nag, and Kettunen, 2018; Kumar, Singh, and Sharma, 2005). Of the total water used, about 20% is treated and reused, whereas the rest is lost. The available water in India is less than that required, and water scarcity will not decrease, even if all the precipitation was used. This leads to the various hydrological organisations to work around models of water conservation and water treatment to increase the availability of water resources. A country is “water stressed” if it has less than 1700 m3 water available per person per annum and “water scarce” if that availability is less than 1000 m3 per person per annum. Per capita surface water availability in India in the years 1991 and 2001 were 2309 and 1816 m3, respectively, further decreasing to 1544 m3 in 2011. It is estimated that it will further dip down to 1486 m3 by 2021. When the value fell below' 1700 m3 sometime between 2001 and 2011, then India was officially a water-scarce country. Although, presently, India doesn’t fall into the category of a “water-scarce country”, there are several states which face drought, especially in the summer. Thus, there is a need to have proper water management planning, water-harvesting techniques and effective models of water recycling.

As discussed above, water is a vital natural resource for all living beings. It is a very well-known fact that the availability of freshwater is constantly reducing. Researchers all over the world are working towards the development of effective models for water management and conservation. The current review will be a useful study for both researchers and academics, as it will provide important indicators in the form of bibliometric data, such as chronological trends of publication in particular journals, most-cited authors, most-cited papers, most effective countries at research in this field, most popular water resource journals, etc. The various indexes provided here wall also be useful to show' the influence of a specific article, author or journal in a given field. The bibliometric approach has already been applied to countless scientific fields (Gorraiz and Gumpenberger 2015).


The Web of Science is a web technology-based platform, developed in 1960 by Clarivate Analytics. It includes a bibliographic database of the journals indexed, as well as information analysis tools, w'hich are helpful in the evaluation and analysis of the research. Since 1800, it has built a vast collection currently standing at at least 34,502 reputed journals from all over the world (Clarivate Analytics, 2020).

The authors selected the Web of Science due to its vast coverage and universal acceptance. The query used was 6811-SU= (“Water Resources”) and CU= (India) 2009-2018) which was used to search Titles, Abstract, and Keywords of documents published during 2009-2018 in journals, conference proceedings, reviews, and letters.

This review paper is an attempt to understand the research being conducted on the water resources of India (WRI) through bibliometric analysis. Noyon et al. (1999) discussed two major procedures of evaluative bibliometrics, i.e., performance analysis and scientific mapping. These can be achieved through analysis of citations given and received, performance of the nation-w'ise research, institutional performance, etc. The present paper used both procedures to draw the characteristics of the research output in WRI. To analyse the data, Microsoft Excel and R software were used.

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