The Union Water Resources Ministry has finalized a committee to draft a new National Water Policy (NWP). 

Committee on National Water Policy:

  • In order to update the National Water Policy, the centre has finalized a committee under the chairmanship of Mihir Shah (Former chairman of Planning Commission).
  • The committee has 10 principal members, including Shashi Shekhar, a former secretary of Water Resources, and A.B. Pandya, former chairman of the Central Ground Water Board.
  • The committee is expected to submit a report within six months. In addition, centre also planning to form a ‘National Bureau of Water use Efficiency’ in addition to the update of NWP.

National Water Policy (NWP) 2012:


To take cognizance of the existing situation, to propose a framework for the system of laws and institutions and for a plan of action with a unified national perspective.


  • Large parts of the country are water-stressed
  • Mismanagement of water resources has led to a critical situation in many parts of the country
  • Wide temporal and spatial variation in the availability of water
  • climate change may also lead to sea-level rise 
  • Access to safe water for drinking and other domestic needs still a problem in many areas.


  • Standardized national information system: The policy envisages establishing a standardized national information system with a network of data banks and databases.
  • Guidelines for safety Storage: The policy also entails guidelines for the safety of storage dams and other water-related structures.
  • Proper Regulation: The policy has provided a guideline to regulate the exploitation of groundwater.
  • Water Allocation Priorities:  Setting water allocation priorities in the following order: Drinking water, Irrigation, Hydropower, Navigation, Industrial and other uses.
  • Rationalize Rate for Surface & Ground Water:  The water rates for surface water and groundwater should be rationalized with due regard to the interests of small and marginal farmers.
  • Integrated Water Resources Management approach: It laid to an Integrated Water Resources Management approach that took the “river basin/ sub-basin” as a unit for planning, development and management of water resources.
  • Inter basin transfers: The policy stipulates that inter basin transfers of water should be considered on the basis of merits of each case after evaluating the environmental, economic and social impacts of such transfers.

India’s Water Policy over the years


NWP 1987

NWP 2002


Allocation Priorities

1. Drinking water

2. Irrigation

3. Hydro-power

4. Navigation

5. Industrial and other uses.

1. Drinking water

2. Irrigation

3. Hydro-power

4. Ecology

5. Agro-industries and non-agricultural industries

6. Navigation and other uses

  • Done away with explicit priorities.“
  • Water, over and above the pre-emptive need for safe drinking water and sanitation, should be treated as an economic good so as to promote its conservation and efficient use”.
  • “After meeting the minimum quantity of water required for survival of human beings and ecosystem, water must be used as an economic good with higher priority towards basic livelihood support to the poor and ensuring national food security”.

Service provision

  • Private sector participation should be encouraged in planning, development and management of water resource projects for diverse uses, wherever feasible. 
  • Depending upon the specific situations, various combinations of private sector participation, in building, owning, operating, leasing and transferring of water resources facilities, may be considered.
  • On the one hand the draft say that “Water needs to be managed as a community resource held, by the state, under public trust doctrine to achieve food security, livelihood, and equitable and sustainable development for all”. 
  • On the other it mentions that: “The service provider role of the state has to be gradually shifted to that of a regulator of services and facilitator for strengthening the institutions responsible for planning, implementation and management of water resources. The water related services should be transferred to community and / or private sector with appropriate public private partners