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First Waterbodies Census

First Waterbodies Census:

The Ministry of Jal Shakti recently released the report of its first-ever census of water bodies, revealing crucial insights into the country’s water resources.

  • The census provides an extensive inventory of water sources in India, highlighting disparities between rural and urban areas and varying levels of encroachment.
  • The census of waterbodies was conducted in conjunction with the 6th Minor Irrigation Census for 2017-18.
  • It defines a waterbody as “all-natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes.”
  • The census aimed to provide an inventory of India’s water resources, including natural and man-made water bodies like ponds, tanks, lakes, and more, and to collect data on the encroachment of water bodies.
  • The census enumerated a total of 24,24,540 water bodies across the country, with West Bengal accounting for the most (7.47 lakh) and Sikkim the least (134).
  • West Bengal has the highest number of ponds and reservoirs
  • The top district in terms of waterbodies is South 24 Parganas in West Bengal.
  • Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of tanks
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest number of lakes
  • Maharashtra leads in water conservation schemes
  • The report highlights that 97.1% of the waterbodies are in rural areas, with only 2.9% in urban areas.
  • Most of the waterbodies are ponds, followed by tanks, reservoirs, water conservation schemes, percolation tanks, check dams, lakes, and others.
  • The census also collected data on the encroachment of waterbodies for the first time, revealing that 1.6% of all enumerated waterbodies are encroached, with 95.4% of encroachments in rural areas and the remaining 4.6% in urban areas.
  • A significant percentage of encroachments cover more than 75% of the waterbody’s area.