ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Structures of Governance Needed

India’s existing structures of water governance, which focus on constructing supply systems, need a radical transformation to be able to address new challenges. This article points out that the proposed National Water Commission could help by initiating steps that assert crucial aspects of the new culture of water management structures in the country.

With progressively diminishing per capita availability of water in the country and degradation of water quality and ecosystem services, the scope for any substantial augmentation of supply systems is severely limited. There are, however, possibilities of extending productive uses of available water by augmenting water-use efficiency (WUE) in every area, particularly in agriculture, which accounts for more than 80% of the water used, at less than 40% efficiency. Realising these possibilities would, in turn, require turning to smart technologies, expert systems, and efficient implementation through a responsive organisation.

Our existing structures of governance have focused on constructing water supply systems, and they need a radical transformation to be able to address the concerns looming ahead. The challenge is to orchestrate an operational system that examines and regulates sustainable patterns of water allocation in a catchment derived from a logical optimisation of socioecological values based on space–time variations of water balance parameters, and the critical water demands of dependent entities. At its heart is a systems thinking approach to water management that generates and analyses information about its interacting components, their capacities, feedbacks and thresholds, and designs optimal interventions to delineate policy options.

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