Report by Department of Water Resources paints gloomy picture

Orissa, which is widely dubbed as a water-surplus State, may face 30 per cent fall in water availability by 2050, according to the latest projection made by State's Department of Water Resources.

Factors suggest that there could be an estimated fall in water availability of 30 per cent by 2050 (from 3358 m3 per capita water availability per year in 2001 to some 2,200 m3/yr/capita 2050), said DoWR which has brought out the report in association with Asian Development Bank.

“With increasing population and the associated increase in demand for food and water combined with the growth in mining and industrial activities, the demand for water from various sectors could increase to 55 BCM by 2051,” says the report.


“The average surface and groundwater potential of the State is 141 BCM at present, including interstate water, and this is estimated to reduce to 129 BCM by 2050,” it says. In the year 2001 it was estimated that the average surface water resources of the State were 120.4 BCM, with 75 per cent dependable flow amounting to 95.5 BCM.

In 2050, the average surface water supply is predicted to be 108.1 BCM with the 75 per cent dependable flow amounting to 85.9 BCM, it says.

While per capita water availability would come down in all 11 river basins, at least three river basins would experience water stressed condition, the report points out. In Baitarani, Rushikulya and Budhabalang river basins, per capita water availability is estimated to remain below UN stress limit of 1700 m3/yr/capita.

Under these circumstances, the researchers see growth in demand of water from industries.

Irrigation currently accounts for 93 per cent of all water extractions in Orissa, with domestic and industrial use accounting for just 4 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. But this pattern is about to change. Increasing urbanisation is leading to higher domestic and commercial water demands while industrial water demands are also increasing, the report says. “At present Orissa accounts for only 2 per cent of India's industrial output. Within Orissa itself, industry is expected to grow from the present 19 per cent of GDP to some 30 to 35 per cent of GDP over the next 10 years. Industry is the single-most important competitor to agriculture for water in the State and conflicts with the irrigation sector are already occurring,” the department forecasts.

Bleak situation

Adding to the woes, the report says that monitoring results for Orissa's six major rivers suggest a bleak situation where water quality rarely meets drinking standards. These rivers are Mahanadi, Brahmani, Rushikulya, Baitarani, Nagavali and Subarnarekha.

  • Demand for water from various sectors increases
  • Per capita water availability to come down in all river basins