We worked with government and water managers in India to identify key future challenges and opportunities for water – its use, planning and management – in the Brahmani Baitarni Basin.

The aim of our water work internationally and in India

CSIRO worked both nationally and internationally to help inform policies and strategies for supporting effective water resource management. The aim was to improve the livelihoods and economic well-being of people in large and complex river basins, in Australia, Asia, the Pacific and South America.

The organisation helped deliver intelligent and sustainable water management solutions in regions of increasing demand due to growth across water resource sectors. They also helped improve access to safe water in highly variable and changing climates and in considering the needs of the environment.

One of the organisation’s international water projects identified key future challenges and opportunities for water – its use, planning and management – in the Brahmani Baitarni Basin in India.

This project was undertaken as part of the Memorandum of Understanding on water between the governments of India and Australia. The project established a partnership between the Government of India and CSIRO, in building capacity in the Government of India to sustainably manage their water resources and enabling CSIRO to adapt research to meet the water resource challenges of India.

The challenge

India’s water resources are under growing pressure with scarcity a main concern due to climate pressures and more investment needed to address access to water resources. In the Brahmani Baitarni Basin, rural communities are impoverished and lack access to a reliable food resource.

Our response

For this project, CSIRO used a modelling approach to understand the current available water resource, and explore potential investments in water management with a view to improving agricultural production to underpin improved livelihoods in the Basin. Agriculture makes a vital contribution to the Indian economy. While it contributes close to 16 % of GDP it underpins livelihoods, with 60 % of the population being dependent on this sector. Irrigated agriculture is a large and growing contributor to the Indian agricultural economy and improving irrigation water delivery is a critical need.

The CSIRO project used a river system model of the Brahmani Sub-Basin to address issues of improved management of water resources for agriculture, industry, energy, critical human needs and the environment. The project assessed the benefits of investments in current infrastructure in the Basin and in the development of new infrastructure. It also explored potential impacts of climate change. In partnership, the Government of India developed a river system model for the Baitarni Sub-Basin.


The results

Project outcomes included the model and modelled scenarios that were designed to support a Basin planning process; a scenario reporting tool; and synthesis and technical reports.

  • The river system modelling technical report is available here.
  • The synthesis report which explores scenarios is available here.
  • A review of agriculture in the basin is available here.
  • An analysis of groundwater status and trends within the basin is available here.

This project was funded by the Government of Australia and ran from July 2013 to June 2016. The project was part of Phase 1 of the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio— an Australian Government initiative with the goal of increasing water, food and energy security in South Asia.

Project Leader: Carmel Pollino

More information

More reports, fact sheets and information are available on the SDIP publications page

Find out more about international water research at CSIRO