Decision Support System for
Water Security


A Decision Support System (DSS) leverages technological advances and enables scientific robustness in developing and evaluating strategies to design integrated solutions. One such System developed by CII- Triveni Water Institute widely applied across India is WATSCAN.

WATSCAN, is an IT driven tool that provides spatial scans of water resources to enable decision analysis and encourages a participatory process. Easily understandable by non-specialists, WATSCAN comes with specific simulation and prediction capabilities. A GIS and Remote Sensing based information system, it enables comprehensive watershed evaluation based on which appropriate interventions can be designed. The insights provided by WATSCAN are helping initiate a dialog on preferable solutions in different parts of the country. Read more

WATSCAN delineates the watershed boundary and superimposes on administrative boundaries of district, taluka, sub-taluka, industry/plant to understand the spatial context. As water, knows no boundaries, it makes sense to manage natural resources on a watershed basis. This type of management allows for an overall, holistic approach to resource management and conservation. Water management on a watershed basis is important for uniform and effective controls, not only to correct problems but to prevent them too.

With various interactive features, WATSCAN comprises modules on hydrology, contaminant transport, sediment movement, crop growth, agricultural Best Management Practices and soil moisture amongst others. Its strong computational ability helps capture physics of nature to arrive at water management solutions based on physical determinants such as infiltration of rainfall in soil matrix, movement of soil moisture, conversion of rainfall in to surface and groundwater, evaporation from surface, plant and trees.

WATSCAN uses digitized datasets captured through satellite sources and various on ground secondary source. These include, topography, land use/land cover, soils and climatological parameters such as rainfall and temperature. The assessment of these parameters remains useful in determining hydrological behavior and in designing water management strategies for an area.

WATSCAN’s key outcomes include—water generation, water accumulation and water losses due to evaporation — derived from analysis of information contained in millions of pixels provide information to prepare better against the increasing variability in availability of water by managing the resources.

The analysis enables identification of structural and non-structural water management strategies that cam improve the water scenario of an area.


The three pillars that lend WATSCAN its uniqueness include its robustness, capability and computational efficiency.

WATSCAN enables spatial and temporal analyses by using a variety of datasets. From the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) at 30m resolution data for topography to the satellite data for land-use/cover, Indian Meteorological Department’s daily gridded rainfall data, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), NASA satellite’s rainfall database and digitized soil databases, WATSCAN is capable of integrating and analyzing data from all these sources.

The data once integrated and analyzed provides a series of outcomes such as

  • Water Generation maps
  • Surface water flows and drainage patterns
  • Water accumulation maps
  • Water scarcity pockets and water demand maps
  • Groundwater depletion and development

The integrated WATSCAN is computationally efficient for use in both small and large watersheds given its unique features and functionalities such as:

  • Simulation of long-term yields for determining management practices
  • Components including spatial and non-spatial data sets
  • In-depth analysis of vast data - for watershed delineation, characterization, hydrological andhydrogeological evaluation
  • Hydrological evaluation that provides insights into ecological constraints of the watershed under study to help derive appropriate strategies

Several million pixels are analysed with much of the information being captured from satellite sources available in a digitized format.

Water Generation

Where it gets generated

Water Accumulation

(How much)

Water Losses

(Where & How to store)



WATSCAN offers a range of cost effective solutions from low cost-low savings to high cost-high savings that help in resource optimization. Some key strategies relate to Municipal-Industry Interface, Municipal- Agriculture Interface, Climate Smart Agriculture, Creating Storages, Rainwater Harvesting and Irrigation optimization.


With appropriate decision making on interventions directed at improved water security, WATSCAN has helped to achieve measurable outcomes, which include,

  • Increased water productivity ~20-30%
  • Improved water use efficiency ~ 40-50% with strategies having RoI < 1 year
  • Enhanced opportunities to dovetail a company’s water related CSR initiatives with Government programs
  • Reduce water risks to business operations, thereby promoting growth, expansion and long term sustainability

With the robust, innovative and technologically advanced WATSCAN, CII has worked with various watersheds covering about 10% of India’s geographical area enabling them move from Water Stressed to Water Blessed.

Disclaimer :

The information provided is for the purpose of knowledge sharing only. No part of this may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), in part or full in any manner whatsoever, or translated into any language, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. All information, estimates and opinions contained in this publication are subject to change without notice, and do not constitute professional advice in any manner.


Basin Level Assessment

Water Resource and Land use Change Assessment for Subarnarekha Basin


Various components of the land phase of the hydrological cycle have been assessed for the Subarnarekha river basin applying WATSCAN. Analysis of Land use/ land cover for the basin for a period of 20 years, also analyzed using satellite data for 3 distinct periods, 2000, 2008 and 2018 along with understanding of likely climate change impacts in the area.

  • Water critical areas identified, which on a relative scale are likely to face higher water concerns.Components including spatial and non-spatial data sets
  • Land use change and climate variability found to be two key factors impacting basin hydrology.
    • Land use Base flows found to decline under LU and LU+CC Scenarios. This reduction is likely to have negative implications on water availability particularly in lean (non-monsoon) months.
    • Reduced rates of percolation to shallow aquifers and recharge that will result in reducing the buffer (as lesser groundwater recharge).
    • Higher surface runoff, increasing occurrence of both peak flows and diminished lean flows; both being critical to equitable distribution of water.
    • High sediment loads a key outcome of forest cover depletion (i.e. largely in the upstream sub basins), which would lead to loosening of soils and erosion

    Watscan Outcome

    Water accumulation Pockets in the study Basin
  • The study provides a basket of strategies. These include,
    • Creation of recharge-based water harvesting systems.
    • Augmentation of storages, creation of new storages at appropriate locations.
    • Periodic desilting of existing storages given sedimentation will rise overtime.
    • Improved water management through measures such as rejuvenation of ponds, afforestation, creation of small storages in identified sub basins.
District/Taluka level Assessment

Water Resource Assessment for Districts

Water resource evaluation for drought prone districts – Aurangabad

Aurangabad division had marked the lowest water availability among the reservoirs of Maharashtra from the year 2012 – 2015. The overall agricultural yield in Kharif and Rabi season decreased to a considerable extent in the 2014- 15, which was about 50% deficit in pulses, oilseeds and cotton as compared to the year 2013-14. Individuals and communities of Aurangabad were under pressure to cope with drought and its consequences. CII Triveni Water Institute, with the support of Standard Chartered Bank, under its WASHE programmecame forth to apply the WATSCAN Tool for Aurangabad district and undertake implementation of water conservation interventions in the district.

WATSCAN tool was applied to the delineated district watershed to identify the spatial variation in water generation, water accumulation, water losses and groundwater depletion within the watershed. WATSCAN outcomes helped to identify various critical pockets within the watershed which had to be prioritised for implementation of water conservation interventions.

WATSCAN also helped arrive at effective interventions to address the water issues prevalent in the district and aided hydrologically feasible siting of these interventions for maximum impact. The basket of interventions guided by WATSCAN outcomes included potential locations for supply side interventions like checkdams, recharge shafts and trenches; and demand side interventions like promotion ofmicro irrigation systems, evaporation control measures; and alternate cropping patterns. The interventions when implemented aimed at increasing surface water availability, reducing groundwater dependability, thereby drought proofing the district.

The outcomes guided selection of 4 drought prone villages in Aurangabad, that aligned well with the ongoing Government initiatives. An exercise to identify critical gaps was undertaken to create maximum impact with optimal investment.

Phase II of the project involved village level assessment and implementation to scientifically enable siting of appropriate water management strategies – a combination of demand and supply side measures.

Water resource evaluation for Udaipur district

The Udaipur district of Rajasthan state is famous for its system of interconnected lakes. The lakes were to function as a source of water availability for drinking, agriculture, industries, groundwater recharge and as a tourist attraction. Despite these available infrastructures to facilitate water availability, Udaipur district lies in the over exploited category with respect to the stage of groundwater development. The significant reduction in rainfall coupled with increase in water consumption has created a situation of water crisis in the district. Such an adverse water scenario could pose a severe threat to the development of Udaipur city into a smart city.

To mitigate the district from such a precarious situation, Secure MetersLtd. and CII – Triveni Water Institute came together with the objective of evaluating the water resources from a hydrological (watershed level) perspective for the Udaipur district by assessing the water availability, demand-supply gaps at the Udaipur watershed level and undertaking a hydrological cum groundwater evaluation to determine the water availability and thereby arrive at appropriate water management interventions to benefit the community at the watershed level.

These objectives were achieved by undertaking a thorough hydrological evaluation for Udaipur district using the WATSCANTool to assess the total water availability, water accessibility and water losses in the district. Groundwater evaluation for the district was undertaken to ascertain the spatial groundwater distribution, groundwater fluctuations and also monitor the changes in groundwater quality over time. This was followed by ground truth verification through field surveys to validate the information to finally arrive at appropriate strategies to improve the water scenario of the district and develop a water management plan for the district to ensure its long term sustainability.

Jaisamand Reservoir (Major source of water in the district)

Checkdam at Kunda Village

  • Watscan Outcome

    Water accumulation Pockets in the study Basin
Village level Assessment

Water Resource Assessment for Drought prone villages of Maharashtra

Aurangabad Project Brief Note

City level Assessment

Water Resource Assessment for Udaipur city

Udaipur city has been facing high water demand-supply gaps with increasing stress from shrinking capacities of the lakes, deteriorating quality, leakages in the water supply infrastructure. This has also led to excessive use of ground water.

  • Udaipur city watershed comprises high water generating area towards the south eastern part and appreciable water generation pockets in the western part. The water generation within the Udaipur municipal area boundary is found to vary between moderate to high. A large pocket just outside the municipal area on the east and within the urban control area as per Master Plan 2031 however, is a distinct low water generation pocket.
  • Udaipur city watershed area, except for a small pocket towards the east is largely in a low flow accumulation area implying water in steady state flows out. Large parts of urban control area also are those with low flow accumulation.

    Watscan Outcome

    Water accumulation Pockets in the study Basin
  • Udaipur municipal area is in a medium losses (evaporation) pocket, however, the urban control area has pockets where high evaporation loss will be present.
  • The rate of groundwater depletion is higher in the north western parts of urban control area, where the groundwater has declined and is likely to decline further given the increasing demands.

Strategies for enhancing potential water savings for a water secure Udaipur city

Scenario 2026 City in context of its watershed
Water demand and supply MLD Strategies for meeting the fresh water shortfall MLD
Projected Water Demand (MLD)* 166 Metering (Demand side management) 15
    Municipal - Industry Interface (Supply side management) - new resources 70
    Groundwater Recharge (Supply side management) 35
Shortfall (MLD) 59.5 Water Conserved 124
"Water Situation
(conserved - shortfall in MLD)"
*data source PHED 2016      

The above scenario was based on the estimates provide by PHED. If we assume a higher demand scenario (with additional 15% increase in population) the projected demand work out to be 190 MLD implying a shortfall of 84MLD in 2026. Through the various strategies this gap can be bridged.

Plant level Assessment

Understanding plants in the context of their respective watershed is important to design a roadmap for mitigating water e=risks through appropriate choice of water management interventions.

Some of the key case studies are provided in the document.

CII WATSCAN case studies 2019



For more information, contact :

Ms Aditi Haksar, Associate Counsellor
E :
M : +91-8826057341