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First Water bodies Census in India

2023 APR 25

Preliminary   > Geography   >   Dams and reservoirs   >   water management

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti recently released the report of it’s first-ever census of water bodies, revealing crucial insights into the country's water resources.

About the census:

  • The census provides an extensive inventory of water sources in India, highlighting disparities between rural and urban areas and varying levels of encroachment.
  • The census of waterbodies was conducted in conjunction with the 6th Minor Irrigation Census for 2017-18.
  • It defines a waterbody as "all-natural or man-made units bounded on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes."
  • The census aimed to provide an inventory of India's water resources, including natural and man-made water bodies like ponds, tanks, lakes, and more, and to collect data on the encroachment of water bodies.

Key highlights of the census:

  • The census enumerated a total of 24,24,540 water bodies across the country, with West Bengal accounting for the most (7.47 lakh) and Sikkim the least (134).
  • The report reveals that West Bengal has the highest number of ponds and reservoirs
  • The top district in terms of water-bodies is South 24 Parganas in West Bengal.
  • Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of tanks
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest number of lakes
  • Maharashtra leads in water conservation schemes
  • The report highlights that 97.1% of the waterbodies are in rural areas, with only 2.9% in urban areas.
  • Most of the waterbodies are ponds, followed by tanks, reservoirs, water conservation schemes, percolation tanks, check dams, lakes, and others.

Add ons:

  • The census also collected data on the encroachment of waterbodies for the first time, revealing that 1.6% of all enumerated waterbodies are encroached, with 95.4% of encroachments in rural areas and the remaining 4.6% in urban areas.
  • A significant percentage of encroachments cover more than 75% of the waterbody's area.


Consider the following statements:

1. Among the states in India, West Bengal accounts for most number of water bodies.

2. Majority of the water bodies are in rural areas

3. Among the states in India, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of lakes

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3