Digital water information system for efficient, sustainable management

Digital water information system for efficient, sustainable management

Structured data sets are required to conduct adequate research, translate data into definite findings

Water is a critical resource that we all require in our daily lives, whether for domestic, agricultural or industrial purposes. Every product we consume leaves behind a water footprint that most of us are either unaware of or overlook. More often than not, the value of an asset doesn’t carry the value of water used in creating it. 

A key aspect of efficient water management is creating an ecosystem that aims at generating awareness among stakeholders about their water footprint and comprehending the value of water. Evaluating the value of each asset based on the amount of water used in creating it is also imperative.

Water management at the national, state, district or individual level requires standard water management schema for better water security, water-sharing based data-driven decisions to minimise challenges and cross-border disputes. This necessitates the development of a more technologically advanced and standardised system for a deeper understanding of the resource and managing it for more equitable distribution and overall resource planning.

Recognising the importance of quality research and authentic data, the Indian government established the National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) to maintain a single-source comprehensive database of water resources data.

Scientific data is required to make well-informed decisions. For this, a dedicated central body was established to collect, collate, maintain, update and provide value-added products and services to all stakeholders for efficient management and sustainable development of water resources in the country. 

NWIC’s goal is to collect data in varied forms from various organisations and state agencies through Water Information Management System (WIMS). It also plans to generate a new database and organise the data in a standardised GIS format for disseminating the information to the public through the India-Water Resources Information System (India-WRIS) platform.

Structured data sets are required to conduct adequate research, translate data into definite findings and evaluate the asset’s value through data-driven evidence. India-WRIS is enriched with a range of data sets, including real-time and historical time-series data for rainfall, water level, flow, water quality, hydro-meteorological parameters and other related topics. 

Detailed mapping of water resources will allow for an integrated approach to solving challenges related to efficient water resource management. Apart from extensive information on parameters relating to surface and groundwater, India-WRIS provides data on artificial recharge structures, snow glacial data, land-use and land-cover and mapping of irrigation projects.

India-WRIS offers tools for creating value-added maps using multilayer stacking of geographic information system (GIS) databases to provide a comprehensive view of water resource scenarios. Also, it provides a set of tools for entering data related to irrigation projects and existing artificial recharge structures of the country. 

WIMS is a data collection platform that captures field data from various organisations and agencies both manually and via telemetric sensors. This data is then organised and reflected on the India-WRIS portal for all stakeholders. 

Further, data from the flood forecast module of WIMS is updated on a real-time basis, enabling departmental officers and agencies to send early real-time flood warnings to the first responders like the National Disaster Management Authority and district administration for taking timely decisions. 

NWIC aims to educate and include every stakeholder and citizen in the process of integrated water management in the country, through the active collection and dissemination of water resources data by WIMS and India-WRIS platform. 

The author is Team Lead (services), WRIS, National Water Informatics Centre, Union Ministry of Jal Shakti

Views expressed are the author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect those of Down To Earth

Down To Earth