Due to seasonal, geographical and annual variation in availability of water as well as lack of adequate storage, substantial quantity of water, especially during monsoon season, remains unused and flows into sea. As per present assessment, the average annual water availability in the country is 1869 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM), i.e., about 66000 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC ft). Further, it has been estimated in the year 2009 by Central Water Commission (CWC) that about 450 BCM (15890 TMC ft) of surface water and by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) that about 243 BCM (8580 TMC ft) of ground water are being utilized for various purposes. Rest of the water 1176 BCM (41524 TMC ft), i.e., 62.9% of available water may be considered as flowing down to sea.
The Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) (erstwhile Ministry of Irrigation) formulated a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for Water Resources Development in 1980 envisaging inter-basin transfer of water from surplus basins to deficit basins/areas. National Water Development Agency (NWDA) set up in 1982 for carrying out various technical studies to establish the feasibility of the proposals of NPP, has identified 14 links under Himalayan Rivers Development Component and 16 links under Peninsular River Development Component.
Five Peninsular links namely (i) Ken – Betwa, (ii) Parbati – Kalisindh – Chambal, (iii) Damanganga – Pinjal, (iv) Par – Tapi – Narmada & (v) Godavari (Polavaram) – Krishna (Vijayawada) have been identified as priority links for taking up their Detailed Project Reports (DPRs). DPR of one priority link namely Ken-Betwa has been completed and was communicated to the party States. Modifications of the proposals and final Detailed Project Report preparation have been taken up by NWDA in the light of observations of the concerned States. The Ken-Betwa link project has been included in the scheme of National Projects.
Further, after receiving the concurrence of the concerned States, NWDA has taken up the DPRs of two more priority links namely Par-Tapi-Narmada & Damanganga-Pinjal. Efforts are on to arrive at consensus amongst party States on the other priority links.
This information was given by Union Water Resources Minister Shri Harish Rawat in the Rajya Sabha today in reply to a written question whether it is a fact that every year the country looses 60,115 TMC or 87 per cent of available 68,969 TMC of water in Indian rivers; whether it is also a fact that various projects, detailed project report etc. from time to time are lying with Government regarding the proper use of water wealth in planned manner by interlinking various rivers; the details thereof; whether Government is considering actively to start any of the pending projects in this regard.