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E-governance Initiatives For Effective Water Resources Management-a Case Study Of Maharashtra

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Pravin Kolhe (Pune, India), T.N. Munde, Purnima Desai, Malini Shankar
Water Resources Department, Government of Maharashtra1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 10: Management of water resources,
AbstractIndia is second largest populated country in the world consisting of more than a sixth of world's population with just 2.4% of world's total area. Maharashtra is second largest state in India, both in terms of population (110 million which is close to population of Mexico) & geographical area (30.7 Mha which is close to area of Italy). The Gross Domestic Product of the state is $233.89 billion (close to GDP of Pakistan). The cultivable land in the state is about 22.5 Mha of which irrigable land from water availability perspective is 12.6 Mha (8.5 Mha from surface and 4.1 Mha from ground water).

Among the total water available on earth, only 3% is fresh water, of which only 0.3% is surface water, of which only 2% water is in rivers. Among the total water available in rivers, only 4% is available in India of which only 4% is available in Maharashtra. The State is blessed with 720km long coastline and 163.82 km3 of surface water resource of which allotted quantity as per various treaties with adjoining states is 125.94 km3. The estimated ground water potential of the state is 20.5 km3. There are 5 major river basin (further divided in to 25 sub-basins and 1505 watershed) in the state viz., Krishna, Godavari, Tapi, Narmada & west flowing rivers of Konkan consisting of total 380 rivers with cumulative length of 19,269 km. First four river basin comprises about 45% of available water with 92% of the cultivable land including more than 60% of dependent rural population of the state. Balanced 55% water is from West Flowing Rivers which are mainly monsoon specific rivers emanating from the Ghats and draining into the Arabian Sea, which is not utilised due to geological constraints. However state aggregates and averages are misleading figures as there is temporal & spatial variation in availability of water. Much of the rainfall occurs within a period of a few months during a year, and even during that period the intensity is concentrated within a few days. Monsoon season in state is of 4 month with effective rainfall in only 96 hours. i.e. statistically only 4 days in a year.

It is needless to explain the importance of water, which is the lifeblood for the existence of life on this earth. It can be a matter of life and death, depending on how it occurs and how it is managed. The demand and supply side issues coupled with impact of Climate Change are expected to worsen the present scarcity situation. Therefore, it is major challenge for water management authority and e-Governance will help in its effective management.

Maharashtra Water Resources Department (MWRD) has a glorious history of Irrigation and Water Management over last 150 years. Entrusted with responsibility of survey, investigation, design, construction, maintenance and management of water resources and hydropower projects department also undertaken development of salt affected area and water logged area. Till 2014, MWRD constructed 3332 water resources projects and thereby created water storage capacity of 33385 Mcum and irrigation potential of nearly 5 mha. There are 1024 under construction projects, which will create additional irrigation potential of 1.5 mha. MWRD had also constructed 58 hydro power schemes having installed capacity of 3606 MW. As a result, the state has highest number of large dams (almost 40%) in country. MWRD fulfills drinking and domestic water need of about 67% of population of state along with industrial and environmental needs. 40,000 employees including 10,000 engineers from 3000 offices are responsible for water management, as a result about 10% of GDP is contributed from agriculture sector.

Even though department performed quite well in some sectors as mentioned above, there are challenges. There was a lack of unified and integrated database of all projects and components, stakeholders, water assessment, recovery, information about area irrigated etc. This was a bottleneck for efficient planning and decision making. Further, uncertainty of rainfall and its consequences like flood, is a major challenge as it is threat to life and property. Therefore, real-time information of rainfall, dam storages, releases from dams etc. is a major concern for effective water management and disaster mitigation. The irrigation water management is important, as command area is spread over 5 Mha area owned by around 5 million farmers and served by a canal network having length of 1.5 million km with 5 million structures. There are about 7000 non-irrigation water customers registered with the department and there are issues in making agreement, measurement of water on volumetric basis, its billing and recovery. The state has enacted about 20 acts, issued 2 manuals, 38 handbooks and about 5000 government orders for construction and management of water. This shows the complexity involved the system.

In order to formulate, implement, monitor & evaluate policies, information is a prerequisite. Collection of water related information from source, its communication, storage, retrieval and use is a key in effective water management and Information and Communication Technology has a potential to assist these activities effectively. MWRD has undertaken several e-governance initiatives backed on ICT viz., Integrated Computerized Information System (ICIS) branded as e-Jalseva, Real time streamflow forecasting system (RTSF), Geographical Information System (GIS), Video Conferencing (VC), e-Service Book (eSB) etc. and their integration. e-Jalseva funded and appreciated by World Bank is conceived as a web-based system with built-in features of scalability, 24x7 availability & reliability and can be accessed through portal https://wrd.maharashtra.gov.in and available in Marathi & English language. CA Clarity Project & Portfolio Management solution supported by customized J2EE development & JBoss Enterprise Portal is platform used in this system. The broadband / VPN network connectivity and hardware supply is also made under this project at various locations. RTSF helps in compilation of real time rainfall, runoff, storage and spill information and used for effective water management and disaster mitigation. GIS will help all stakeholders for effective operations whereas VC and eSB will enhance productivity of officials.

This paper presents detailed overview of all these initiatives undertaken by MWRD including their architectural framework, technology involved, implementation methodology, capacity building, change management and vendor management issues. These initiatives covers all major activities of MWRD & will ensure integrated, real time, one point source of all water related information of state as a whole. Further using BI tools the optimum utilization of resources and informed decision making is also made possible. Paper also contains the challenges faced during implementation and its resolution along with key lesson learnt. Hence, it is expected that it will act as a road map for other organizations.

2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association office@iwra.org - http://www.iwra.org - Admin