Water Bodies – First Census Report (Volume 2)


The Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti released this first volume of the Water Bodies – First Census Report on April 25, 2023. Volume 1 gives an overview of the census with tables depicting all-India distribution of water bodies and their urban and rural division. Volume 2 provides state-wise details with each section focusing on an individual state and union territory.

The report states that India is shifting from being a country with an abundance of water to one facing water scarcity due to increasing population and urbanization. As such, an overview of available water resources in the country becomes crucial. Initially, the Department of Water Resources only monitored water bodies receiving central assistance. To rectify this limitation, the Committee recommended the creation of a comprehensive database. The first water bodies census was thus conducted alongside the 6th Minor Irrigation Census in 2018-19.

The census considers “all natural or man-made units bound on all sides with some or no masonry work used for storing water for irrigation or other purposes” as water bodies. Additionally, “a structure where water from ice-melt, streams, springs, rain or drainage of water from residential and other areas is accumulated or water is stored by diversion from a stream, nala or river” is also treated as a water body. The census aims to gather essential data which can aid in the implementation of schemes and water budgets as well as for planning local water security measures.

This 194-page second volume report contains 33 sections, each giving an overview of the census findings from individual states and union territories.


  1. The census records 747,480 water bodies in the state of West Bengal. All of these water bodies are man-made, it states. As many as 96.3 per cent of them are located in rural areas and 3.7 per cent in urban areas. Additionally, 96.6 per cent are privately owned.

  2. Arunachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Sikkim, and West Bengal reported no illegal encroachment on water bodies. In contrast, Uttar Pradesh reported that out of a total of 245,087 water bodies, 15,301 had been encroached upon. As many as 15,168 of those encroached upon were ponds while the rest consisted of tanks, lakes, reservoirs, and others.

  3. All 188 water bodies in Chandigarh are under public ownership and in use. Majority of these are tanks (93.6 per cent), followed by ponds and lakes. The census recorded six natural and 182 man-made water bodies in the union territory.

  4. All of the water bodies in Haryana of which there were 14,898 were located in rural areas. As many as 96.5 per cent of these were ponds. Most of the bodies were public owned, mostly by Panchayats. However, only 59 per cent of them were in use, with the rest either destroyed, dried up or polluted.

  5. Out of the 36,239 enumerated water bodies found in Tripura, a surprising 35,857 (98.9 per cent) were privately owned. Only four of the water bodies surveyed were out of use. The census also notes that 99.95 per cent of the total were employed in pisciculture.

  6. The state of Karnataka was recorded to have 27,013 water bodies, of which 21.7 per cent (5,874) were in use. In contrast to other states mentioned, only a small percentage (2.67 per cent) were man-made while the remaining 26,293 were natural water bodies. The census adds that all man-made water bodies in the state were found in rural areas.

  7. Of Mizoram’s 2,185 water bodies, 1,734 (79.4 per cent) were privately owned while the rest were owned by public authorities. Almost all of the water bodies were located in tribal areas, the census adds. Around 62.2 per cent were filled up every year and 33 per cent were known to usually fill up. About 1.5 per cent of water bodies never filled up.

  8. The census recorded 1,168 natural and three man-made water bodies in Puducherry. All three artificial water bodies were in urban areas. Thirteen of the overall 1,171 water bodies were covered under the District or State Irrigation Plans.

  9. Out of the 97,062 water bodies in Maharashtra, 99.7 per cent were publicly owned while the rest – 295 – were under private ownership. Of those under public ownership, half were under the state’s water resources department, 42.7 per cent were owned by Panchayats, 1.2 per cent by co-operatives and the rest by municipal or other government authorities.

    Focus and Factoids by Naina Singh.


Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India


Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India


25 Apr, 2023