India’s first water body census: How was it done, what does the report say

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s first water body census: How was it done, what does the report say” published in Indian Express on 25th April 2023

What is the News?

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has released the report of India’s first water bodies census, a comprehensive database of ponds, tanks, lakes, and reservoirs in the country.

What was the need for a water bodies census?

The Centre earlier maintained a database of water bodies that were getting central assistance under the Scheme of Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of water bodies.

In 2016, a Standing Committee of Parliament pointed to the need to carry out a separate census of water bodies.

The government then commissioned the first census of water bodies in 2018-19 along with the sixth Minor Irrigation (MI) census. 

What was the objective of the first water bodies census?

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What does the census reveal about the encroachment of water bodies?

The census found that 1.6% of enumerated water bodies — 38,496 out of 24,24,540 — had been encroached upon. 

More than 95% of these were in rural areas — which is logical because more than 97% of the water bodies covered by the census were in the rural areas. 

Uttar Pradesh accounted for almost 40% (15,301) of water bodies under encroachment, followed by Tamil Nadu (8,366) and Andhra Pradesh (3,920). 

No encroachment was reported from West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh.

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