The water is a prime natural resource. Acknowledging the vital importance of water for human and animal life, for maintaining ecological balance and for economic and developmental activities of all kinds considering its increasing scarcity, the planning and management of this resource and its optimum, economical, equitable and sustainable use has become a matter of the at most urgency. The distribution of water resources is uneven over a large part of the state. The geographical area of the state is 308 lakh ha. and cultivable area is 225 lakh ha. Out of this 40% of the area is drought prone. About 7% area is flood prone.
          The highly variable rainfall in Maharashtra ranging from 400 to 6000 mm occurs in a 4 months period between June & September. Only 58% of this average annual availability is found in the four major river basins (Krishna, Godavari, Tapi & Narmada) east & Western Ghats. These four rivers basins comprise 92% of the cultivate land 75% of the people living in rural settlements & fast growing towns and industrial area. An estimated 49% of the area of these river basins containing 43% of the population is already considered deficit or highly deficit in regard water availability and these deficit areas are expected to increase steadily as both the population increase and the economic growth take place. Moreover Maharastra shares all these four river basins with neighboring states, and various interstate river water tribunal awards/agreements, decisions on water sharing have reduced estimated available surface water resources in these river basins for the state of Maharastra.
          Since independence and in particular after formation of the state of Maharastra in 1960,large investment has been made in the water sector which resulted into increasing the irrigation potential from 2.74 lakh to 38 lakh ha. and thereby increased agriculture productivity by and agro based industries. Enhanced the drinking water supplies to the major cities and towns as well as rural area and also made available industrial water supplies to spur on industrial growth. A careful planning development & Management of the water resources in the state is called for management of water resources of the state. Based on this premise and view of the changed scenario, the Govt. of Maharashtra constituted the Maharashtra Second Irrigation Commission. It has offered recommendations and implementation of which is underway. Various policy reforms taken by state is described in Water Resource in State.