Prelims level : Biodiversity Mains level : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
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Why in News:

  • According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), Water storage in reservoirs of most States of the west and south India has dipped to less than the average of last 10 years indicating a worsening water crisis.


  • Private weather forecaster Skymet said last month that rainfall in Vidarbha, Marathwada, west Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will be “poorer than normal”, while southern India is expected to receive below normal rainfall.
  • Indication of the worsening water crisis
  • The storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country is 20% of total storage capacity for the week ending on May 30, 2019
  • In the western region, which includes Gujarat and Maharashtra, there are 27 major reservoirs with a total live storage capacity of 31.26 billion cubic metres (BCM). The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 3.53 BCM which is 11% of the total live storage capacity. In the southern region, which includes Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, 31 reservoirs are under CWC monitoring with a total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 5.91 BCM which is 11% of its total live storage capacity.

Central Water Commission (CWC)

  • Central Water Commission (CWC) is the apex technical organisation.
  • The organisation currently functions as an office attached to the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • The Central Water Commission is responsible for initiation, coordination of the schemes for the conservation, control and usage of water resources in the respective States for managing floods, irrigation activities, the supply of drinking water and generation of power from water in furthering the consultation with the government of the states concerned. In the cases where it becomes necessary, the commission could take up the execution or construction of any such projects.

Central Water Commission Functions:

  • The commission is also vested with the responsibilities of: Flood control and management.
  • Technical appraisal of Irrigation projects.
  • Checking the economic viability of Irrigation projects.
  • Appraisal of multipurpose projects recommended by the governments of various states. Collection, compilation, publishing of hydrological data in the country and its analysis.
  • Data gathering with respect to rainfall, temperature, runoff, etc. CWC assumes responsibility as the central bureau of information in such matters.
  • Construction, investigation and execution of the schemes required.
  • Surveys, investigations, designs, schemes and construction work for the development of river valleys. Assist and advise the State Governments.
  • Training of Indian Engineers in India and abroad in all aspects of river valley development.

CWC Wings:

  • CWC is divided into three specialised wings. They are:
  • River Management Wing (RM)
  • Designs and Research Wing (D&R)
  • Water Planning and Projects Wing (WP&P).
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