National Water Mission

The National Water Mission (NWM), under the aegis of the Ministry of Water Resources, is one of the eight missions being constituted under the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC). The NAPCC was launched by the Prime Minister in 2009 as a nation-wide effort to tackle climate change.



The Government of India has established National Water Mission as one of the eight National Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The Union Cabinet approved (on 6th¬†April, 2011) the comprehensive Mission Document for National Water Mission (NWM).¬† The main objective of NWM is ‚Äúconservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management‚ÄĚ. NWM has identified five goals as under:-

1.   Comprehensive water data base in public domain and assessment of the impact of climate change on water resource;

2.    Promotion of citizen and state actions for water conservation, augmentation and preservation;

3.   Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas;

4.   Increasing water use efficiency by 20%; and

5.   Promotion of basin level integrated water resources management.



  • National Water Mission Directorate
  • Preparation of State Specific Action Plans (SSAP )
  • Human Resource Development and Capacity Building
  • Setting up of National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (NBWUE)
  • Baseline studies
  • Preparation of Detailed Project Reports for demonstrative/benchmarking projects


Objective of National Water Mission

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) describes the features of National Water Mission as under: “A National Water Mission will be mounted to ensure integrated water resource management helping to conserve water, minimize wastage and ensure more equitable distribution both across and within states. The Mission will take into account the provisions of the National Water Policy and develop a framework to optimize water use by increasing water use efficiency by 20% through regulatory mechanisms with differential entitlements and pricing. It will seek to ensure that a considerable share of the water needs of urban areas are met through recycling of waste water, and ensuring that the water requirements of coastal cities with inadequate alternative sources of water are met through adoption of new and appropriate technologies such as low temperature desalination technologies that allow for the use of ocean water. The National Water Policy would be revisited in consultation with States to ensure basin level management strategies to deal with variability in rainfall and river flows due to climate change.

This will include enhanced storage both above and below ground, rainwater harvesting, coupled with equitable and efficient management structures. The Mission will seek to develop new regulatory structures, combined with appropriate entitlements and pricing. It will seek to optimize the efficiency of existing irrigation systems, including rehabilitation of systems that have been run down and also expand irrigation, where feasible, with a special effort to increase storage capacity. Incentive structures will be designed to promote water-neutral or water- positive technologies, recharging of underground water sources and adoption of large scale irrigation programmes which rely on sprinklers, drip irrigation and ridge and furrow irrigation.‚ÄĚ

The NAPCC also describes the procedure for implementation of the Mission as under: “These National Missions will be institutionalized by respective Ministries and will be organized through Inter-Sectoral Groups which include, in addition to related Ministries, Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission, experts from industry, academia and civil society. The institutional structure would vary depending on the task to be addressed by the Mission and will include providing the opportunity to compete on the best management model. Each Mission will be tasked to evolve specific objectives spanning the remaining years of the 11th Plan and the 12th Plan period 2012-2013 to 2016-2017. Where the resource requirements of the Mission call for an enhancement of the allocation in the 11th Plan, this will be suitably considered, keeping in mind the overall resources position and the scope for re-prioritization".

Comprehensive Mission documents detailing objectives, strategies, plan of action, timelines and monitoring and evaluation criteria would be developed and submitted to the Prime Minister‚Äôs Council on Climate Change by December 2008. The Council will also periodically review the progress of these Missions. Each Mission will report publicly on its annual performance. Building public awareness will be vital in supporting implementation of the NAPCC. This will be achieved through national portals, media engagement, civil society involvement, curricula reform and recognition / awards, details of which will be worked out by an empowered group. The Group will also consider methods of capacity building to support the goals of the National Missions. We will develop appropriate technologies to measure progress in actions being taken in terms of avoided emissions, wherever applicable, with reference to business as usual scenarios. Appropriate indicators will be evolved for assessing adaptation benefits of the actions. These Eight National Missions taken together, with enhancements in current and ongoing programmes included in the Technical Document, would not only assist the country to adapt to climate change, but also, importantly, launch the economy on a path that would progressively and substantially result in mitigation through avoided emissions.‚ÄĚ The ‚ÄėTechnical Document‚Äô annexed with the NAPCC has identified key areas related to

(a) studies on management of surface water resources,

(b) management and regulation of ground water resources,

(c) upgrading storage structures for fresh and drainage system for wastewater,

(d) conservation of wetland, and

(e) development of desalination technologies etc. required to be considered while preparing the comprehensive document for the National Water Mission.



This Comprehensive Mission Document of ‚ÄúNational Water Mission‚ÄĚ identifies the strategies for achieving the goals of

(a) Comprehensive water data base in public domain and assessment of the impact of climate change on water resource;

(b) Promotion of citizen and state actions for water conservation, augmentation and preservation;

(c) Focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas;

(d) Increasing water use efficiency by 20%; and

(e) Promotion of basin level integrated water resources management. 



India is faced with the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth while dealing with the global threat of climate change. This threat emanates from accumulated greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, anthropogenically generated through long term and intensive industrial growth and high consumption lifestyles in developed countries.

While engaged with the international community to collectively and cooperatively deal with this threat, India needs a national strategy to firstly, adapt to climate change and secondly, to further enhance the ecological sustainability of India’s development path.

Climate change may alter the distribution and equality of India’s natural resources and adversity affect the livelihood of its people. With an economy closely tied to its natural resources base and climate-sensitive sector such as agriculture, water and forestry, India may face a major threat because of the projected changes in climate.

The global warming may affect the hydrological cycle which could result in further intensification of temporal and spatial variations in precipitation, snow melt and water availability. The reports on "India's Initial National Communication to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change‚ÄĚ published by Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India in the year 2014 identified the following projected impact of climate change on water resource.

  • Decline in the glaciers and the snowfields in the Himalayas;
  • Increased drought like situations due to overall decrease in the number of rainy days over a major part of the country;
  • Increased flood events due to overall increase in the rainy day intensity;
  • Effect on groundwater quality in alluvial aquifers due increased flood and drought events;
  • Some of the possible identified implications of climate change on water resources are listed below;
  • Influence on groundwater recharge due to changes in precipitation and evapo-transpiration; and
  • Increased saline intrusion of costal and island aquifers due to rising sea levels.