Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Water Allocation with Use of the Building Block Methodology (BBM) in the Godavari Basin, India

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Water Allocation with Use of the Building Block Methodology (BBM) in the Godavari Basin, India

Article excerpt


Access to sufficient quantities of water of acceptable quality is a basic need for human beings and a pre-requisite to sustain and develop human welfare. In cases of limited availability, the allocation of water between different sectors can result in conflicts of interests. In this study, a modified version of the Building Block Methodology (BBM) was demonstrated for allocation of waters between different sectors. The methodology is a workshop-based tool for assessing water allocation between competing sectors that requires extensive stakeholder involvement. The tool was demonstrated for allocation of water in the Sri Ram Sagar water reservoir in the Godavari Basin, Andhra Pradesh, India. In this multipurpose reservoir, water is used for irrigation, drinking water supply and hydropower production. Possible water allocation regimes were developed under present hydrological conditions (normal and dry years) and under future climate change, characterized by more rain in the rainy season, more frequent droughts in the dry season and accelerated siltation of the reservoir, thus reducing the storage capacity. The feedback from the stakeholders (mainly water managers representing the various sectors) showed that the modified version of the BBM was a practical and useful tool in water allocation, which means that it may be a viable tool for application also elsewhere.

Keywords: optimal water allocation, building block methodology (BBM), climate change, Godavari Basin, India

1. Introduction

Water is essential for all types of basic services, such as food production, supply of drinking water, health and sanitation services, industrial production and for sustaining the earth's ecosystems. In India, investments in the water sector have primarily focused on irrigation projects with the aim to expand the area under irrigated agriculture and increase the food production. Other sectors also experience growing needs, such as drinking water supply, process-water to the industry, water for hydropower production, water to secure navigation and for recreational services (Amerasinghe et al., 2005; Chítale, 2005). There are also inherent dependencies between some of the water uses, exemplified by the fact that the majority of irrigation projects in India have provisions for generation of power. The availability of water is to a large extent dependent on climatological and hydrological characteristics, and the water resources in India are not evenly distributed in time and space (Gosain et al., 2006; Kakumanu, 2009). One part of the country might experience floods and water logging problems, while other parts might need to cope with droughts and scarcity at the same time. In periods when the need for water is larger than the supply, practical tools to assist in the allocation of water between competing sectors can be useful. Such tools may also reduce the tension between the different interests.

The water management in India is primarily the responsibility of the states. The State Water Policies, alongside the National Water Policy, are the instruments that spell out water management practices. Policy making, water allocation, operation and maintenance of irrigation canals are carried out by the respective state governments. The Constitution at the national level provides certain powers to the Government of India (GOI) in case of trans-boundary river issues wherein tribunals are set up to resolve inter-state issues in water allocation. GOI also provides technical support to the states during extreme weather, including droughts as well as floods.

The majority of the states have drinking water as the top priority, followed by irrigation, hydropower generation, industry, fisheries and environmental flows. The states have different mechanisms to allocate water among competing demands. In the State of Andhra Pradesh, the government has set up a State level Committee for Integrated Water Management (SCIWAM), which has representatives from all water related sectors (http://www. …

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