Restructuring of the Central Water Commission – Ministry of Water Resources invites comments on its proposal till September 30, 2011


The restructuring is being proposed primarily to adopt river basins as the fundamental block for integrated planning, development and management of water resources in the country. 

The policy documents of the Government and the recommendations made by various High Level Committees from time to time clearly indicate that there is an urgent need to adopt river basins as the fundamental block for integrated planning, development and management of water resources in the country in order to tackle present issues being faced by the water sector and the future emerging challenges in the sector.

Though there is a “River Board Act” enacted for integrated management of inter‐State rivers, no River Basin Organisation (RBO) has been established for integrated planning, development and management of water resources of the river basins due to lack of consensus among co‐basin States.

The Ministry of Water Resources has suggested that of the available organizations dealing with all the facets of water with national perspective and also with basin orientation, Central Water Commission should be entrusted with the responsibility of river basin management.

Present functions of Central Water Commission

Central Water Commission has presence in almost all the aspects of water resources development and management. The main functions of Central Water Commission being discharged through its India‐wide field basin oriented setup are -

  • Hydrological observations and studies,
  • Maintaining water resources information system for each river basin,
  • Providing assistance in regulation and development of inter‐state rivers,
  • Issuing flood/inflow forecasts,
  • Carrying out techno‐economic appraisal of projects,
  • Taking up survey and investigation of projects on request,
  • Providing design consultancy, and
  • Advising and assisting the Government of India on related matters.

Restructuring of Central Water Commission

As per the report, the Central Water Commission has already evolved and oriented itself towards basin level planning and management on a smaller scale. To carry out the present tasks of preparing basin plans in order to address basin specific present water issues and future challenges, the organization needs to - (a) further orient and strengthen itself in the basin itself to cater to the local needs and to serve the States in a better way; and (b) assess the manpower and capacity requirement to discharge the given functions smoothly and of the desired quality.

Phasing of restructuring

The report outlines the proposed restructuring i.e., opening of new hydrological observation stations, modernization of data collection, manpower recruitment, infrastructure development for the offices, outsourcing of the routine secretarial works and related matters etc. These will be completed in a phased but accelerated manner.

Financial implications

The financial implication has also been worked out for (a) opening and maintaining of the hydrological observation stations (b) opening of office space for the officials and staff in the field offices and (c) increased fund requirement for the salaries of officers and staff (not substantial because of Government’s scheme of non‐functional upgradation, many officers are already drawing salary of senior level). The non‐recurring expenditure in this regard has been estimated as Rs. 289.60 crore and annual recurring expenditure as Rs 119.92 crore.

The detailed proposal on restructuring of CWC is included in Volume II of the report.

Outputs of restructured Central Water Commission

The expected outputs of the restructured Central Water Commission by 2025 have been listed as -

  • Ready with basin plans;
  • Establish system for continuous updation of basin plans;
  • Ready with water strategy plans with respect to neighboring countries;
  • Ready with adaptation measures for climate change;
  • Fully equipped with latest know‐how in water sector;
  • Well developed data collection network, communication and analysis centres;
  • Dynamic GIS based water resources information system in place; and
  • Increase in water use efficiency by 20 per cent.

The basin plan will be a tool in the hand of the Central Government to –

  • Help achieve optimal utilisation of water resources through integrated development and management of water resources;
  • Provide comprehensive information about availability, utilization and demand of water in the basin which shall lead to meaningful dialogue among the stakeholders for resolving various issues;
  • Help in optimal planning to address temporal and spatial variation of water availability (intra-basin as well as inter-basin);
  • Lead to comprehensive planning of all the related aspects of water sector, such as, conjunctive use, water quality, ecology, environment etc;
  • Focused attention to water management aspects which would lead to efficient use of water;
  • Set-up in the field closer to the States would help in speedy implementation of the programmes and policies of Ministry of Water Resources;
  • Focused attention to dam safety issues would play a major role in disaster management; and
  • Provide a platform for addressing coastal erosion related issues.

Suggestions and comments are invited by the Ministry of Water Resources on the proposal from various stakeholders to incorporate their concerns. You are requested to send your views/suggestions in this respect by September 30, 2011 at the following email address - 

Download the reports below -

Post By: Amita Bhaduri