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Understanding the water conservation and management in India: an integrated study

Abstract

India is a sub-continent with different physiography, climate, and agro-ecology. This variability supports changes in rainfall and water resources across the country. Due to various developmental activities such as agriculture, industry, and services, the ever-increasing demand for surface water and groundwater resources is declining at an alarming rate. However, in India, water management and conservation projects occur in a clustered and irrational manner, often at the discretion of individuals or democratic organizations. This has prompted the country to re-examine and reevaluate the National Water Policy strategies and adopt artificial recharge of aquifers elongated with natural solutions. Given this background, this paper accentuates the necessity for a rigorous and integrated effort to decentralize water conservation and management activities by reestablishing the antiquity of conservation practices for natural resources in India. In addition, the present paper attempts to understand how changes in behavioral practices related to water have affected water availability through making synergies between surface water, groundwater, and energy to achieve water efficiency and accessibility in the long run. Specific policies, planning, and program level interventions in different water conservation practices are discussed to address the study's objective. Also, the role of climate variability on the spatio-temporal deviations in input (water) management of agriculture and domestic use in light of the existing discord between technology and policy is reviewed.

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Acknowledgements

We want to express our special thanks to Waterman of India, Rajendra Singh, a conservationist, and environmentalist for his outstanding and thought-provoking interactive lecture in Kshitij, IIT Kharagpur, 2018, which further motivated us in the drafting of the present paper. We thank the anonymous reviewers and the journal’s Editor-in-Chief for their valuable comments, which greatly improved the paper.

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Correspondence to Amartya Pani.

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Pani, A., Ghatak, I. & Mishra, P. Understanding the water conservation and management in India: an integrated study. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 7, 77 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40899-021-00556-2

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Keywords

  • Agro-ecology
  • Water conservation
  • Management
  • Antiquity
  • Policy
  • Integrated study
  • Water efficiency
  • Democratic organizations
  • India