Influence of IWMI Tata Water Policy Program (ITP) Research

Since 2000, IWMI, through ITP, has conducted water sector research and policy discussions on the major water issues facing India. One of the key areas of research has been on groundwater over-exploitation in the country, and IWMI has produced a range of related outputs and policy recommendations to better understand and address the issue through groundwater recharge (see, e.g., MTP Project 3, MTP 2003-2005). In late 2006, India’s Finance Minister invited IWMI to submit policy recommendations based on its research in preparation for the 2007-2008 Union Budget. One of the key recommendations—a program on groundwater recharge in hard-rock regions of India—was selected for further elaboration, and the program was ultimately incorporated into the final Union Budget. The budget provides Rs 1800 crore (US$ 400 million) for groundwater recharge in 100 districts of hard rock India. Paragraph 54 of the budget document, the background for which draws on IWMI’s briefing note, outlines the intervention:

“Depletion of groundwater has assumed grave proportions. The Central Groundwater Board has identified 1065 blocks in the country as ‘over-exploited’ or ‘critical’. Over 80 percent of these blocks are in 100 districts in 7 states. The strategy of groundwater recharge is to divert rain water into ‘dug wells’. Each structure will cost about Rs 4000. The requirement is 7 million structures including 2 million on land belonging to small and marginal farmers. I propose to provide 100 percent subsidy to small and marginal farmers and 50 percent subsidy to other farmers. Ministry of Water Resources will finalize the scheme shortly. In anticipation, I intend to transfer a sum of Rs 1800 crore to NABARD. The amount will be held in escrow and will be disbursed through the lead bank of the district concerned to the beneficiaries.”


  • Briefing notes to Finance Minister and Finance Secretary
  • Invitations to meet Finance Minister and Finance Secretary
  • Email exchange with Central Groundwater Board
  • 2007-2008 Union Budget