Project Development Objective

Project Development Objective

To improve the extent, quality and accessibility of water resources information and to strengthen the capacity of targeted water resources management institutions in India.

Project Beneficiaries

The project has two groups of direct beneficiaries:

  • Central and state implementing agencies (IAs) responsible for surface and/or groundwater planning and management, including river basin organizations; and
  • Users of the WRIS across various sectors and around the World.

The ultimate beneficiaries will be the selected farm communities benefitted from pilot projects for water management; rural and urban water and power users, populations affected by floods and droughts, especially poor rural people, and farm families who may benefit from improved irrigation water supply and management; stakeholders across the energy, inland waterways, environment and agriculture ministries; research and educational institutions; students and researchers, NGOs, civil society organizations and the private sector.

Key Results Indicators

  • Improving the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources data: Number of new or upgraded Water Resources monitoring stations providing validated data online.
  • Improving the accessibility of water resources information.
  • Strengthening capacity: Number of Water Resources institutions achieving benchmark performance levels.

Project Description

Project Description

  • NHP will improve and expand hydrology data and information systems, strengthen water resources operation and planning systems, and enhance institutional capacity for water resources management. The project will thus strengthen the information base and institutional capacity for evidence-based decision making in water resources planning and operational management at the basin scale across India using the latest technology and tools. NHP will contribute to the GOI Digital India initiative by integrating water resources information across state and central agencies.
  • NHP will span both states that benefitted from HP-I and HP-II investments and states that were not included in the earlier projects. In the new states, investments will be needed to move beyond existing basic infrastructure, following the approaches developed in the earlier projects. For HP-I and HP-II states, investment will focus on upgrading and completing networks. For all states, the focus will be on using the information generated for water planning and management.
  • The expectation is that knowledge, open access and stronger institutional capacity will contribute to a shift towards integrated water resources management at the basin scale. The resulting improved water allocation and use efficiency and the improved management of drought and flood risks are expected to bring substantial socio-economic benefits

A Four Pronged Strategy

(i) Modernizing monitoring The project will establish monitoring networks in new project states, with a focus on deploying new sensors, data storage and telemetry technologies across the whole country, to establish comprehensive, modern, automated, real-time monitoring systems for surface and groundwater. Enhanced use will be made of powerful earth observation systems to provide improved information on water resources. Comprehensive data management systems will be further developed and deployed nation-wide.
(ii) Enhancing analytical tools The project will develop and demonstrate tools for water resources assessment, hydrologic and flood inundation forecasting, water infrastructure operations, groundwater modeling, and river basin and investment planning.
(iii) Transforming knowledge access The project will build on the dramatic advances in cloud computing internet, mobile devices, social media and other communication tools to modernize access to and visualization of customized water information by different stakeholders.
(iv) Modernizing institutions The project will complement technology investments with investments in people and institutional capacity. Support will be provided for developing centers of expertise, innovative learning approaches, collaboration with academia and research institutes and outreach programs. Office and equipment will be modernized to streamline workflows in order to effectively leverage the technology investments.


Overview of Implementing Agencies

  • DoWR, RD & GR, MoJS has proposed to introduce a Central Sector Scheme, where the ministry would fully fund establishment of water resources information system, and it would have MoAs with the states to integrate the database. In addition, DoWR, RD & GR, MoJS will establish a permanent independent National Water Information Center (NWIC) to operate and maintain WRIS in long term (NWIC is described further below). This arrangement demonstrates both central and state interest to join the NHP platform and offers several advantages, including that both the center and states will have mutual access to data and knowledge products.
  • There will be 49 implementing agencies (IAs): the implementing ministry (DoWR, RD & GR, MoJS); 7 central agencies; 2 river basin organizations; and 39 state/UT agencies. In the state/UTs, the IAs include the irrigation or water resources department for surface water management and minor irrigation/groundwater department/agency for groundwater management. In some states, surface and groundwater are handled in one department, while in others, they fall under different state secretariats. Accordingly, 19 state/UT have one IA and 10 states have two IAs. Eligibility to participate in the project as an IA required establishing a project management unit and submission of detailed project implementation plans (PIPs). All but two states (Tripura and Delhi) have met these criteria. One of the critical central agencies, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has indicated that it would provide ‘external’ support to the project on a fee basis.
  • The majority of the states and union territories (UTs) have indicated their keen interest to participate, given the challenges they are facing, including with respect to climate extremes of drought and floods. The states have realized that it is impossible to manage transboundary water resources without integration at a river basin scale. The role of central agencies is critical to providing technical expertise and leadership in water resources information and water resources assessments, coordinating water management issues between states within a basin, and leading the adoption of a river basin approach to water resources management.

Strategy for Implementation Arrangements

  • National level technical and management support needs to be appropriately staffed and be flexible to match with the technical innovation;
  • in centralized procurement, state participation needs to be more effective;
  • state level activities should not depend entirely on centralized activities; in the case of delays in centralized activities, state progress also suffers
  • reallocation of funds amongst agencies (which will be considered during the mid-term reviews) helps to create healthy competition and incentivize well performing states to test innovative approaches and techniques. Based on the experiences of past two projects, implementation responsibilities have been distributed across the central and sub-national IAs to achieve balanced centralized and state based activities, and minimize interdependence between the central and states while ensuring the integration and standardization of systems.

Project Implementation

Central level technical support There are seven central implementing agencies: CWC, CGWB, NIH, CWPRS, CPCB, SoI and NRSC. These agencies will be responsible for development of national products (software, river basin decision support platforms, standards and protocols, and guidelines) and for providing support to the sub-national agencies to introduce and apply these products. Each of the central IAs will establish a Central Project Management Unit (CPMU) with multi-disciplinary team (including fiduciary, safeguards and monitoring and evaluation experts). Each CPMU will coordinate with the respective agency’s internal divisions in order to execute activities assigned to it and ensure project guidelines are being followed.
Sub-National level Sub-national level IAs consist of state/UT IAs, river basin organizations and regional centers. State IAs will be the water resources or irrigation departments and/or the groundwater department. Because the implementation of project activities cuts across various departmental divisions, State Project Management Units (SPMUs) will be established, preferably in the hydrology center/division where one exists – HP-I and HP-II states have established hydrology data centers or dedicated hydrology divisions and PMUs have been established within them. In new states, the IAs have nominated SPMUs with critical staff. Only some 50% agencies in new states have a division for water resources measurement, while northeast states do not have any arrangement for hydrological monitoring, meaning that these states will be required to strengthen the respective division or establish a dedicated cell following the central structure of NWIC.
Regional / River Basin organizations There are two implementing agencies at the river basin level – BBMB and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) – and one regional organization is planned to be established under the project – the North east Center for Water Resources Management. Eight north eastern states have proposed to establish the North east Center, which would serve as the technical hub for the north east region, including operating applications for regional basins. These sub-national implementing agencies would be responsible for executing targeted activities in light of the common challenges and extent of needs in the region. In particular, flood forecasting system will be operated through the North east Center. Similar to state agencies, they will be responsible for implementation of project activities and will have PMUs established for this purpose, with all required expertise.

Project Management & Coordination

  • Following the HP-II model, an NPMU has been established in DoWR, RD & GR, MoJS. It will be responsible for overall project planning, management and coordination across the various implementing agencies; fund allocation; technical support; financial and procurement management; monitoring safeguard compliance, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) including the development and operation of a management information system (MIS) and regular progress reporting; and communications and outreach. The NPMU will also provide technical support to central agencies (e.g., developing standardized products) and ensure quality control.

Appraisal Summary


  • The expansion nationwide of a real time hydro-meteorological data acquisition system will vastly increase the timeliness, reliability and quantity of water resources information
  • Data integration among agencies and open accessibility of unclassified information will represent a quantum leap in transparent information sharing that will strengthen both water resources management and sector governance. The open accessibility of this information, shared amongst states, agencies and all stakeholders, will support all aspects of water resources planning, development and management, notably building capacity for integrated water resources management at the basin scale
  • Dynamic water resources assessments, water accounting and modeling at the basin scale will improve decisions on allocation of water resources and investment in infrastructure. In particular, information on spatial distribution of water resources will improve the targeting of investment and will improve the ‘right-sizing’ of projects.

Financial Management

  • Funds from the center would be transferred to bank accounts operated by the implementing agencies. DoWR, RD & GR, MoJS has issued the Government Order/s (GO) outlining the mechanism to be operationalized. The states/UTs are required to open bank accounts (by negotiation), and this needs to be authorized by their finance department and the state AG.
  • Accounting at central and state levels will be done on a cash basis. Accounting rules will be consistent with the General Financial Rules (GFRs) applicable to all transactions of central and state governments.