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Holistic water management system- need of the hour

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.


Source: DTE

Context: With the rapid growth of cities, water demand has exponentially increased. Even as aspirations cause people to migrate to urban areas, water depletion and scarcity remains a huge challenge staring at people’s faces in the near future.

Thus, water management needs to undergo a revolution to ensure most urban areas can be self-sufficient in the future.

Integrated urban water management system for reliable supply

  • Integrated urban water management system (IUWM) is a process, which ensures water supply, used water management, sanitation and stormwater management can be planned in line with economic development and land use. 
  • This holistic process makes coordination among water departments easier at the local level. It also helps cities adapt to climate changes and manage water supply more efficiently.

Approaches to successful urban water management

  • Collaborative action : When there is clear coordination between all the stakeholders, it is easier to define priorities, take action, implement changes and take accountability.
  • Shift in perception of water : It is essential to understand how water is inseparable in its connection to economic development, city infrastructure and land use.
  • Understanding water as a resource: Water is resource for various end goals thus it will be easier to treat different kinds of water based on agricultural, industrial and environmental purposes.
  • Customised solutions for different cities : IUWM focuses on specific contexts and local requirements, it prioritises a rights-based solution approach over one-size-fits-all approach.

Water for all

  • Integrated policies can help secure sustainable development and ensure there is innovation, efficiency and sustainability at every level. 
  • IUWM has proven to be a successful practice, but budget constraints, inadequate guidance from authorities and lack of awareness have limited the implementation of this solution.
  • The Centre has started initiatives by implementing the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) for inclusive sanitation solutions and Jal Jeevan Mission for ensuring piped water supply.
  • The government has also allowed reuse of water based on circular economy principles.


Insta Links:

Water Management In India


Prelims Link:

  • Integrated Urban Water Management
  • Water conservation
  • Urban Planning


Mains Link:

Q. Do you think there is urgent need for water management in India to undergo a revolution. Substantiate your arguments. 10M