Report No. 21 of 2011 – Performance Audit of Water Pollution in India of Union Government, Ministry of Environment and Forest

Date on which Report Tabled:
Fri 16 Dec, 2011
Date of sending the report to Government:
Government Type:
Union Department
Sector Environment and Sustainable Development


In July 2009, various stakeholders working in the field of environment flagged water pollution as the most important environmental issue that concerns us. We also held a detailed two-day International Conference on Environment Audit - Concerns about Water Pollution in March 2010. This conference was attended by various civil society organisations, government agencies, international agencies and regulatory bodies. The heads of Supreme Audit Institutions from Austria, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh also shared their concerns about water pollution. The Conference flagged many important areas of concern with regard to river, lake and ground water pollution. Further, we put out advertisements in various national and local newspapers all across India, inviting suggestions from the general public regarding the water pollution problems faced by them. Based on feedback from these consultations, we decided to take up a Performance Audit of Water Pollution in India during 2010-11.

Most lakes in India are under threat from nutrient overloading which is causing their eutrophication and their eventual choking up from the weeds proliferating in the nutrient-rich water. Implementation of NLCP in conserving these lakes has had no discernible effect.Pichola, Pushkar, Dimsagar, Banjara, Kotekere, Bellandur, Veli Akkulam, Shivpuri, Powai, Rankala, Twin lakes, Bindusagar, Mansagar, Mansiganga,Rabindra Sarovar, Mirik, Kodaikanal lake, Dal lake, Durgabari lake,Laxminarayanbari Lake, Dimsagar Lake etc., have shown poor water quality.However, there have been some success stories like Nainital lake, Kotekere lake, Sharanabasaveshwara lake and Mansagar where water quality has improved after completion of conservation programmes.

River cleaning and control of pollution programmes for our polluted rivers are being implemented since 1985. The programmes seek to address pollution from point and non-point sources through construction of Sewage Treatment Plants, low cost sanitation, electric crematoria etc. However, the data on the results of these programmes are not very encouraging.Ganga in certain stretches, Yamuna, Gomti, Godavari, Musi, Cauvery,Cooum, Mahananda, Khan, Kshipra, Vaigai, Chambal, Rani Chu, Mandovi,Sabarmati, Subarnarekha, Bhadra/Tungabhadra, Pennar, Pamba, Betwa,Krishna, Sutlej etc., continue to be plagued by high levels of organic pollution, low level of oxygen availability for aquatic organisms and bacteria, protozoa and viruses which have faecal-origin and which cause illnesses.

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