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Union Govt. formed Mihir Shah Committee to restructure water agencies

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Seeking to carry forward the Gujarat-model of irrigation reform in the country and to quickly complete the task of aquifer mapping to quantify available groundwater resources, the Centre has constituted a seven-member committee to restructure the central water commission (CWC) and the central ground water board (CGWB) – the two key central bodies that manage water resources in India.

  • The committee, headed by ex-planning commission member Mihir Shah, has been asked to submit its report in three months so that government can make a policy framework to utilize available water resources in the country in a better way.

The committee has been asked to:

  • Work on water resource planning, augmenting and budgeting in an integrated manner.
  • undertake an elaborate mapping exercise as part of river basin planning, which will include mapping and characterising of aquifers.
  • suggest ,measures to ensure water availability to farmers through creating last-mile connectivity.

Since more than 60% of the available water is used for irrigation purpose, the focus of the panel would be to recommend suitable re-orientation and restructuring of the CWC and the CGWB at river basin and sub-basin level to take care of the needs of farming sector.

Why restructuring of these water bodies is necessaruy?

  • to optimally develop water resources in India so that all river basins and resources can be managed keeping in mind the increasing unpredictability of the monsoon and other climate factors.
  • Decreasing per capita availability of water and the huge projected demand of this natural resources by 2050 are also triggers for such a move.

While the CWC is working for managing\monitoring surface water, the role of the CGWB is to look after the ground water situation in the country.

Gujarat’s model:

Gujarat’s model inlcudes water harvesting, drip irrigation, conservation of water resources through micro irrigation network and setting up or creating village pond, check dams and ‘boribandh’ (sand bag) dams so that water actually reaches the farmers in all areas within the state.