Uttar Pradesh, in North-Central India, is the most populous State in India, accounting for 16.16 per cent of its population. It is fourth largest state in India in terms of land area. The climate of Uttar Pradesh is tropical, with warm weather around the year. Uttar Pradesh covers 7.3% of the total land area of India with 18 divisions, 75 districts, 915 urban bodies, 13 Municipal corporations, 226 municipal boards, 822 development blocks and 59163Gram Sabhas. The State also has 9 agro-climatic zones, therefore making it vulnerable to a variety of water related issues. Uttar Pradesh is primarily an agrarian economy with it being the largest producer of food grains and known as the food basket of India, therefore making water a very critical resource. It is also the top manufacturing destinations in India contributing more than 8% of national manufacturing output. The state is a leading electronic hardware exporter in the country and has also emerged as a key hub for IT/ ITeS and service sector including software, captive business process outsourcing (BPO) and R&D services.Food processing, tourism, mineral-based industries, auto components, textiles, handlooms and handicrafts, biotechnology, leather-based and sports goods are other major industries of the state. The service industry also plays a large role in the economy of Uttar Pradesh – it contributed nearly 49% of the gross State domestic product. The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Uttar Pradesh grew at a CAGR of around 8.43% between 2015-16 and 2020-21 to reach Rs. 17.06 trillion (US$ 234.96 billion).
Water is a finite and unevenly distributed natural resource that is essential to sustaining life and livelihoods. Therefore, water resources need to be appropriately managed, developed and utilized by states.
Uttar Pradesh is the largest extractor of groundwater in India accounting for 18.4% of the total national and 4.5% of the total global groundwater extraction. The per capita groundwater extraction in UP is 224.97cum compared to a national average of 182.86 cum and a global average of 125.89 cum. In result 138 development blocks are in overexploited, critical or semi-critical stage. A rapid growth in the demand for water due to population growth, urbanization and changing lifestyles pose serious challenges to water security in the State. There is wide temporal and spatial variation in the availability of water, which may increase substantially due to climate changes, causing more water crisis and incidences of water related disasters, i.e., floods, increased erosion and increased frequency of droughts, etc.
The inadequate management of water resources has also led to a critical situation indry rain fed areas like the Bundelkhand and Vindhya region. Access to safe water for drinking and other domestic requirements continues to be a problem in many districts. Groundwater is exploited inequitably and without any consideration to its sustainability thereby leading to its over-exploitation. Uttar Pradesh also ranks negatively in all major domains with regard to performance indicators for water sector development including Groundwater Source Augmentation (-1.51); Watershed Development – Supply Side Management (-3.21); Demand Side Management Participatory Irrigation Practices (-0.01); Demand Side Management Sustainable on-farm Water Use Practices (-0.88); Rural Drinking Water (-0.53); Urban Water Supply and Sanitation (-0.70) by NITI Ayog, Government of India.
The situation in the State is further worsened by the insufficient maintenance of existing irrigation infrastructurethat has resulted in the wastage and under-utilization of available water resources. Natural water bodies and drainage channels are being encroached upon and diverted for other purposes. Access to water for sanitation and hygiene is another challenge. Inadequate sanitation and lack of sewage treatment pollutes water sources. A growing pollution of water sources, especially through industrial effluents, is affecting the availability of safe water besides causing environmental and health hazards. In many parts of Uttar Pradesh, large stretches of rivers areheavily polluted and devoid of flows and therefore unable to support aquatic ecology, cultural needs and aesthetics.
Limited knowledge and low levels of awareness about the overall scarcity and economic value of water results in its wastage and inefficient use. The lack of adequately trained personnel for scientific planning and the insufficient utilization of modern techniques and analytical capabilities also creates barriers in efficient water resources management in the State.
The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a public, private, civil society multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank Group. We support stakeholders in collective decision making, and in co-designing out-of-the-box solutions that promote strong socio-economic development across all sectors connected to water.