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UN World Water Development Report 2023

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Agriculture/Geography


Source: UNWater, DTE

 Context: Recently, ‘United Nations World Water Development Report 2023: partnerships and cooperation for water’, was released. Also, UN 2023 Water Conference is currently being held in New York


Major findings of the report:

  • Global:
    • Globally, two billion people do not have safe drinking water and 3.6 billion lack access to safely managed sanitation
    • The global urban population facing water scarcity is projected to increase from one-third (2016) to nearly half of the global urban population in 2050, with India projected to be the most severely affected.
  • India:
    • 80% of people living under water stress lived in Asia; in particular, northeast China, as well as India and Pakistan.



  • Smart management and conservation of the world’s water resources means bringing together governments, businesses, scientists, civil society and communities – including indigenous communities – to design and deliver concrete solutions.”
  • Water-energy-food nexus is critical in a transboundary context E.g. transboundary water cooperation arrangement established by the Mahakali Treaty (Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project) between India and Nepal, which aims to achieve water and energy security for both parties.
  • Partnerships that focus on knowledge co-creation instead of knowledge transfer aim to embrace the diversity of expertise and experience within a knowledge system.
  • Water resources management practices should incorporate traditional elements: E.g. paar systems in western Rajasthan, India, and amunas in Peru
  • Use of technology:g., Google began a flood forecasting initiative in 2018, with the goal of preventing catastrophic damage


Terms related to water:

Terms usedDefinition
Water scarcityLack of sufficient available water resources to meet water usage demands within a region
Water stressThe difficulty of obtaining fresh water sources during a period of time may lead to further depletion and deterioration of available water
Water shortage/deficitsShortages of water caused by climate change, pollution, increased human demand, and overuse of water
Water crisisA situation where the available potable, unpolluted water within a region is less than that region’s demand


Other steps to conserve Water:

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal 6 includes a specific goal on water and sanitation (Goal 6)
  • UN-mandated Paris Agreement recognizes the interlinkages between water and climate change.
  • Dublin Principles water was established as an “economic good”


About the Report:

The WWDR is published by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water and its production is coordinated by the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme. It is an annual report released on Launched on World Water Day (22nd March) every year


About the UN 2023 Water Conference (New York from March 22-24, 2023)

It will be the second UN Conference dedicated to water after the one held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1977. UN has launched a global campaign called ‘Be the Change’ to mark World Water Day 2023.

We will cover its outcome once the conference gets over.


Jal Jeevan Mission

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to deliver safe and enough drinking water to all rural Indian households by 2024 through individual household tap connections.
  • It is the Ministry of Jal Shakti’s main programme
  • It started in 2019
  • Focus: Community-based approach to water, with comprehensive information, education, and communication as a fundamental component of the goal.


Works Under Jal Jeevan Mission

Case StudyKey IssuesSolutionImplementation
Over-extraction of groundwater in Nuapada district in western OdishaHigh concentrations of natural fluoride cause fluorosis and kidney failure; villagers spend 50-60% of their earnings on health-related issuesSwitching source of drinking water from groundwater to surface water; formation of Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSCs)Implementation of National Water Quality Sub-Mission; Larsen and Toubro managing water supply systems till 2025; VWSCs formed in all villages
Groundwater depletion in Dharwad district, KarnatakaWater scarcity due to overexploitation, population pressure, and discharge of effluents and agricultural chemicals; erratic rainfall and absence of perennial surface-water sourceReviving natural ponds for rainwater harvesting and subsurface recharge; formation of VWSCsRevival of natural ponds identified in villages for JJM implementation in 2020; VWSCs looking after distribution network; periodic monitoring of supplied water quality in district laboratory
Water scarcity in Junagadh district, GujaratDependence on streams and open wells; semi-arid climateCombining surface water and groundwater sources for the conjunctive system; constructing borewells near water channels to recharge groundwater; block-level water treatment plant supplying treated waterImplementation by WASMO and GWSSB since 2002; VWSCs overseeing operation and maintenance of supply system; district-level laboratory monitoring water quality
Inadequate and contaminated water supply in Ladana village, Jaipur districtRelying on contaminated baori and seasonal streams; water scarcity during summersDigging pond and open wells for water availability; constructing overhead tank for water storage; receiving water from Bisalpur damDigging of Ganga Sagar Talab and three open wells by Watershed and Soil Conservation Department in 2016; Public Health Engineering Department responsible for operation and maintenance; regular water quality testing
Inaccessible springs in North district, SikkimDifficulty in fetching water due to steep cliffs; dependence on springsInstallation of water collection structures and conveyance structures around identified springs; formation of VWSCsPilot implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019; 90% of households having functional tap connections; VWSCs looking after operation of installed pipelines and retrofitted works; technical support provided by Rural Development Department


Insta Links


Mains Links:

How and to what extent would micro-irrigation help in solving India’s water crisis? (UPSC 2021)


Prelims links

On the planet earth, most of the freshwater exists as ice caps and glaciers. Out of the remaining freshwater, the largest proportion ( UPSC 2013)


(a) is found in the atmosphere as moisture and clouds

(b) is found in freshwater lakes and rivers

(c) exists as groundwater

(d) exists as soil moisture


Ans: C