Goal 4

Improving Water Use Efficiency by 20%

India is a developing nation and truly aiming to be a developed nation by 2030 with its highest working population of youngsters. The overall development coupled with demographic changes will have to come up with the challenges posed by environmental issues mainly emission and higher temperature which are projected to affect all aspect of hydrological cycle. More frequent and severe draughts resulting depletion of ground water table, erratic rainfall pattern, devastating floods, long lasting rainfall conditions in one part of the country or other have become common. These changes are apparent and their impact increases as growing population become more dependent on atmospheric and hydrological circulations. This has lead to many overexploited blocks facing acute water scarcity areas

In order to address these challenges, Prime Minister’s Council on Climate change, has set up eight missions with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) as nodal ministry to implement the programmes/ schemes and to monitor progress of the issues related to climate change. The eight missions are: National Solar Mission, Energy Efficiency Enhancement Mission, Sustainable Agriculture, Green India, Water Mission, Sustainable Habitat, Sustainable Himalaya Eco-system and Strategic Knowledge on climate change.

National Water Mission is one of eight Missions established under Ministry of Water Resource, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR). Government of India launched National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) which inter-alia identified the approach to be adopted to meet the challenges of impact of climate change through eight Missions including National Water Mission (NWM) with the main objective of “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within states through integrated water resources development and management”.

One of the most important goals of the National Water Mission is to improve the efficiency of water use at least by 20%. The objective can be achieved by ensuring improved efficiency both on the demand side as well as the supply side. Research in the area of increasing the water use efficiency in agriculture, industry and domestic water is very important. Similarly, full utilization of the created facilities and better design and proper operation and maintenance would considerably help in improving the efficiency on supply side. Use of micro irrigation, promotion of water neutral and water positive technologies, recycling of water etc. are also very important measures for increasing the efficiency. At the same time adoption of better management practices are also very important.

An analysis shows that modernization and renovation of existing old projects, command area development including selective lining of water courses etc. may increase the overall irrigation efficiency by about 20-21%. About 5000 field demonstrations, all over the country, of the technological interventions suited to the local conditions by academicians and research organisations have shown increase in yields as well as water savings. The strategies included under the goal are

(a) Research in area of increasing water use efficiency and maintaining its quality in agriculture, industry and domestic sector;

(b) Incentivize recycling of water including wastewater;

(c) Development of Eco-friendly sanitation system;

(d) Improve efficiency of urban water supply system;

(e) Efficiency labeling of water appliances and fixtures;

(f) Promotion of water efficient techniques and technologies;

(g) Undertake Pilot projects for improvement in water use efficiency in collaboration with States;

(h) Promote Water Regulatory Authorities for ensuring equitable water distribution and rational charges for water facilities;

(i) Promote mandatory water audit including those for drinking water purposes;

(j) Adequate provision for operation & maintenance of water resources projects;

(k) Incentive through award for water conservation & efficient use of water; and

(l) Incentivize use of efficient irrigation practices and fully utilize the created facilities. The Farmers Participatory Action Research programme (FPARP) of the Ministry of Water Resources has demonstrated that with adoption on better techniques and technologies, the efficiency of water use can be considerably improved. At present, there is a gap of about 15% in the irrigation potential created and utilized. Full utilization of the created facilities has been identified as an important strategy.


It should not happen that the dam is constructed but the distribution system is not making headway making the investment idle and at times infructuous. Command area development should occur pari passu with the creation of infrastructure. Command area development must carefully integrate traditional water harvesting systems already existing in the command. 10% of the AIBP command must mandatorily be provided with water saving micro-irrigation techniques. An agricultural improvement programme focused on improving water use efficiency and agricultural productivity must be dovetailed in to the AIBP. Revision of water charges is an important instrument for promoting water use efficiency. For command area development to be effective, the participation of farmers as stakeholders in the process must occur right from the planning and implementation to monitoring and maintenance. For this, WUAs need to be set up within the framework of PRIs and provided with autonomy, incentives and powers. The key areas identified in the NAPCC and the identified strategies to address the issues related to such areas are summarized below:.

Recommended Strategies in respect of Goal 4 -Increasing water use efficiency by 20% Key areas highlighted in NAPCC Recommended strategies and identified action points

(a) The Mission to take into account the provisions of the National Water Policy and develop a framework to optimize water use by increasing water use efficiency by 20%,

(b) Increase in the efficiency of water use in domestic and industrial sector,

(c) Need for incentives to adopt water-neutral or waterpositive technologies,

(d) Water recycle and reuse,

(e) Ensuring more effective management of water resources,

(f) The Mission to seek to ensure that a considerable share of the water needs of urban areas are met through recycling of wastewater; and ensuring that the water requirements of coastal cities with inadequate alternative sources of water are met through adoption of new and appropriate technologies such as low temperature desalination technologies that allow for use of ocean water,

(g) Regulation of power tariffs for irrigation and

(h) Incentive structures will be designed to promote recharging of underground water resources

Goal –4

Improving Water Use Efficiency by 20%


Strategy IV.1

Research in the area of increasing water use efficiency.

(Agency: CWC, State Governments, and Planning Commission(Niti Aayog)).


Strategy IV.3

Development of Eco-friendly sanitation system.

(Agency: CGWB, State Governments , MoWR,RD & GR, MoA, MoRD, and MoPR)


Strategy IV.12


(Agency: MoDWS)


Guidelines for Improving WUE in Irrign, Domestic & Industrial Sector-CWC Nov, 2014