IMPROVING STORAGES- NEED OF THE HOUR FOR INDIA

July 7, 2014

  1. Water availability and requirement:-

As per the report of the National Commission on Integrated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD-1999), India has roughly four percent of the world’s fresh water resources. India receives an average precipitation of about 1170 mm which corresponds to an annual precipitation of 4000 BCM. There is considerable variation in precipitation both temporally and spatially. Nearly 75% of this i.e. 3000 BCM occurs during the monsoon season confined to 3 to 4 months (June to September) in a year.

As per the assessment done by CWC in the year 1993, the average annual water availability in the country is 1869 billion cubic meters (BCM). The remaining water is lost to the atmosphere through evaopotranspiration from barren lands, forests, natural vegetation, rainfed agriculture, natural ponds and lakes etc. It is estimated that owing to topographic, hydrological and other constraints, the utilizable water with conventional approach is 1121 BCM which comprises of 690 BCM of surface water and 431 BCM of replenishable ground water resources.

It has been estimated by Central Water Commission (CWC) in 2009 that about 450 BCM of surface water is being utilized for various purposes. Similarly, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has also estimated in 2009 that about 243 BCM of ground water is being used for various purposes.

Total water requirement of the country for different uses for the years 2010, 2025 and 2050 as assessed by National Commission on Integrated Water Resources Development (NCIWRD-1999) constituted by Ministry of Water Resources, is given below:

Sl.No. Total Water Requirement for Different Uses (in BCM)
Uses Year 2010 Year 2025 Year 2050

High Demand scenario

High Demand scenario

High Demand scenario

1. Irrigation

557

611

807

2. Domestic

43

62

111

3. Industries

37

67

81

4. Power (Energy)

19

33

70

5. Others

54

70

111

Total

710

843

1180

 

Status of water storage in India:-

Systematic development of available water resources was taken up with the beginning of Plan era and in the process of planned development of water resources since independence, live storage in the country has been built up from 15.6 BCM at the time of independence to 253.388 BCM in 2010. This has made a significant contribution in meeting water demand of various sectors in the country.

As per the information on storage scenario in 2004, the live storage capacity of completed, under construction and under consideration projects were 225.14 BCM, 63.90 BCM and 107.54 BCM respectively totaling to 396.58 BCM.

The reassessment of live storage capacity of completed, under construction and under consideration projects was carried out in 2010. As per this assessment, live storage capacity of completed, under construction and under consideration projects were 253.388 BCM, 50.959 BCM and 104 BCM respectively totaling to 408.347 BCM say 408 BCM.

The status of creation of live storage capacity in the country as in 2010 is as under:

In BCM
1 Total live storage capacity of the completed projects 253.388
2 Total live storage capacity of projects under Construction by various state governments 50.959
3 Total live storage capacity of projects under consideration for construction by various state governments 104
Total 408.347
4 Likely loss of reservoir capacity by 2050 due to silting of reservoirs (Estimated by Working Group on Major and Medium Irrigation for XI Plan) 53.00
5 Balance live storage capacity that would be available 355.00

 

The state-wise number of dams completed and under construction is given in Annexure-II.  The State wise and basin wise details of the live storage capacity created and under construction in the country are given in Annexure-III (a) and III (b) respectively.

For harnessing of 690 BCM of utilizable surface water, it is estimated that approximate live storage capacity of 450 BCM will be required. Thus, new storage projects with storage capacity of about 95 BCM (i.e. 450 BCM-355 BCM) are required to be identified and completed by 2050.

2. Pace of creation of storage and need for ramping up:-

An idea of pace of storage creation is obtained from storage capacity of completed projects as per assessment of 2004 and 2010. The live storage created during this period is (253.388-225.14) i.e., 28.248 BCM during a period of 6 years. Thus, annual rate of storage creation is of the order of 4.7 BCM. The pace of live storage creation required is (450+53-253.388)/40 i.e., about 6.2 BCM per year.

We are embarking upon a rapid pace of development where the demands for water are likely to become more and more uniform throughout the year. Since we have to bring the entire country to an acceptable minimum standard of living providing adequate water and power, we will need to harness all the resources at our disposal in a sustainable way. In this respect, the reliance will necessarily have to be on surface water as it is an annually replenishable resource. Depletion of Ground water is already causing concerns and the natural recharge and even artificial recharge can not meet the sustainability requirements of the present level of ground water usage, It is therefore, required that we increase our reliance on surface water resources for our future.

Rainfall availability is generally about 100 days in a year, which is largely responsible for the water flows in our river and water courses recognised as surface water. It reaches a maxima during monsoon season and minima during summers. As against this, the demands are generally at a minima during the monsoon seasons and reach a critical level during the summer months clearly indicating an inverse relationship between availability and demands. This is akin to a situation where the funds made available to many of us as a salary will have to be made to last for the entire month and still some surplus to be left at the end to meet peaking demands for funds during special situations. We meet this be conserving the money available in a bank. Water storages are exactly the same device. We do not think twice before justifying the requirement of an overhead water tank and possibly one more in the loft when we know that the municipal supply will be available for a fixed period in the day only and we need to have water throughout the day. No further explanation is needed for establishing the need for the storages.

3.Water Storage Policy:-

Although no separate national water storage policy has been formulated by the Government, creation of storage has been given adequate emphasis in the National Water Policy, 2002 and National Water Policy, 2012.

The National Water Policy, 2002 had recommended that water resources available to the country should be brought within the category of utilisable resources to the maximum possible extent (para 3.1 under ‘Water Resources Planning’). The Policy had further recommended that water resource development projects should as far as possible be planned and developed as multipurpose projects, which inter-alia involve creation of storage (para 6.1 under ‘Project Planning’).

The National Water Policy, 2012 also recommends that the anticipated increase in variability in availability of water because of climate change should be dealt with by increasing water storage in its various forms, namely, soil moisture, ponds, ground water, small and large reservoirs and their combination and that States should be incentivized to increase water storage capacity, which inter-alia should include revival of traditional water harvesting structures and water bodies (para 4.2 under point 4 titled ‘Adaptation to climate change’). The National Water Policy, 2012 further recommends that all water resources projects, including hydro power projects, should be planned to the extent feasible as multi-purpose projects with provision of storage to derive maximum benefit from available topology and water resources (para 9.7 under point 9 titled ‘Project Planning and Implementation’).

Planning Considerations

Creation of storage of water is not limited to defining the quantities/ capacities alone. It is also dependent upon the topography, geotechnical conditions and the land availability. Each of this ingredient is not available in plenty nor are they uniformly distributed so as to enable us to create storages at will and wherever we like to have them.

Optimising the land requirements is an important aspect of the storage planning. Though much reviled, large storages require lesser land foot print for storing relatively larger amount of water and are also efficient in conserving the storage throughout the year by way of lesser evaporation from a deeper water body. Greater resilience can be built in form of carryover storage which can see through the difficult periods of the shortfalls. As an example, better than average reservoir storage position in 2013 has enabled us to tide over the crisis of late arrival of adequate rains in 2014 so far.

Areas around foothills are the ideal locations since they provide us with the necessary depths of reservoirs and also are located at the head of the agricultural and urban hubs located in plains. The transfer of the water can take place through gravity removing the necessity of energy for pumping.

Concerns

Very often, concerns and apprehensions are expressed over many perceived effects and need some disambiguation.

The major concern in a population rich country like ours is the relief and rehabilitation. However, it has been demonstrated that successful implementation of R&R activities are feasible. Government has put adequate safeguards and provisions in terms of legal instruments as well as financial provisions for addressing the issues.

The concerns of seismic risk to the structures have been adequately taken care of by way of development of state of the art methodologies of earthquake hazard assessment and competence of the country is demonstrated by the fact that no dam has failed due to earthquakes when we have dams as old as 150 years are existing and performing satisfactorily in the country.

Geotechnically, our technological community has been adapt at meeting any challenge of foundation, materials of construction and constraints of site since our early history. All the challenges that have been met in the past have built an experience base in the country which is unique in the world.

Overall dam safety concerns have been addressed through establishment of sound dam safety practices in the country. Various means of effective surveillance on a routine basis and assurance of the health of the dam are in place and have so far been proving to be adequate.

Each of the above concerns can be supported by a numerous examples and instances and facts. However, the constraints of space prevent the same at this point of time.

DISCLAIMER
The views expressed are personal.

Annexure-I

WATER RESOURCES POTENTIAL OF RIVER BASINS OF INDIA

S.
No.
River Basin Catchment area (Sq.Km) Average Water Resources Potential (BCM)* Utilisable surface water resources (BCM)**
1 2 3 4 5
1 Indus 321289 73.3 46
2 Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna
(a) Ganga 861452 525 250
(b) Brahmaputra 194413 537.2 24
(c) Barak & others 41723 48.4
3 Godavari 312812 110.5 76.3
4 Krishna 258948 78.1 58
5 Cauvery 81155 21.4 19
6 Subernarekha 29196 12.4 6.8
7 Brahmani-Baitarni 51822 28.5 18.3
8 Mahanadi 141589 66.9 50
9 Pennar 55213 6.3 6.9
10 Mahi 34842 11 3.1
11 Sabarmati 21674 3.8 1.9
12 Narmada 98796 45.6 34.5
13 Tapi 65145 14.9 14.5
14 West Flowing Rivers from Tapi to Tadri 55940 87.4 11.9
15 West Flowing Rivers from Tadri to Kanyakumari 56177 113.5 24.3
16 East Flowing Rivers between Mahanadi and Pennar 86643 22.5 13.1
17 East Flowing Rivers between Pennar & Kanyakumari 100139 16.5 16.5
18 West Flowing Rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni 321851 15.1 15
19 Area of Inland Drainage in Rajasthan Negl.
20 Minor Rivers draining into Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh 36302 31
Total   1,869.4 690

 

BASIN WISE STORAGES CREATED

 

 

LIVE STORAGE (BCM)

SL.NO.

BASIN NAME COMPLETED PROJECTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS TOTAL

1

INDUS

16.223

0.1002

16.3232

2

GANGA

48.677

7.649

56.326

3

BRAHMAPUTRA

1.718

0.7951

2.5131

4

BARAL & OTHERS

0.719

9.172

9.891

5

GODAVARI

35.0327

8.4115

43.4442

6

KRISHNA

50.651

4.156

54.807

7

CAUVERY

9.083

0.015

9.098

8

SUBERNREKHA

0.309

2.15

2.459

9

BRAHMANI & BAITARNI

5.515

0.703

6.218

10

MAHANADI

13.006

1.4613

14.4673

11

PENNAR

2.938

2.141

5.079

12

MAHI

5.017

0.15

5.167

13

SABARMATI

1.577

0.109

1.686

14

NARMADA

17.622

6.8347

24.4567

15

TAPI

9.137

1.558

10.695

16

WEST FLOWING RIVERS FROM TAPI TO TADRI

14.668

2.43

17.098

17

WEST FLOWING RIVERS FROM TADRI TO KANYAKUMARI

11.023

1.416

12.439

18

EAST FLOWING RIVERS BETWEEN MAHANADI AND PENNAR

2.676

1.181

3.857

19

EAST FLOWING RIVERS BETWEEN PENNAR AND KANYAKUMARI

1.441

0.015

1.456

20

WEST FLOWING RIVERS OF SAURASHTRA AND KUTCHCHH INCLUDING LUNI

6.336

0.511

6.847

21

AREA OF INLAND DRAINAGA OF RAJASTHAN

0

0

0

22

MINOR RIVERS DRAINING INTO MYANMAR AND BANGLADESH

0.019

0

0.019

23

AREA OF NORTH LADAKH NOT DRAINING INTO INDUS

0

0

0

 

TOTAL

 

253.388

50.959

304.348

 

Annexure-VI

Present  status of National Projects having storage capacity

(a) Ongoing National Projects

Sl. No.

Name of the Project

State

Storage (MCM)

1

Gosikhurd

Maharashtra

1147.06

2

Shahpur Kandi

Punjab

14.80

 

(B)National Projects under Appraisal

1.

Renuka

HP

542.70

2.

Lakhwar Vyasi

Uttarakhand

400.86

3.

Kishau

HP/ Uttarakhand

1282.74

4

Ken Betwa

Madhya Pradesh

2775.15

5.

Ujh multipurpose project

J&K

814.04

 

(C) National Project under DPR Preparation Stage

1.

Bursar

J&K

1233.40

2.

Gyspa project

HP

740.04

3.

Kulsi Dam Project

Assam

345.35

4.

Noa-Dehang Dam Project

Arunanchal Pradesh

320.68

 

(D) National Project under Conceptual Stage

1.

Upper Siang

Arunanchal Pradesh

21584.50

 

(E) Project recently included

1.

Indira Sagar Polavaram

Andhra Pradesh

2129.00

A. B. Pandya, Chairman, Central Water Commission

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