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Central Water Commission

(Serving the nation since 1945)

Profile of Central Water Engineering Service (CWES)

The Central Water Engineering Service (CWES) Group 'A' Service was formally constituted in the year 1965, though the cadre had been building since April, 1945 when Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission (CWINC) was established on the advice of Dr B.R.Ambedkar, Member (Labour) in the then Viceroy’s Executive Council. CWES is the only organized Group ‘A’ Service at central government dealing with water sector. CWES was mainly constituted with the objective of efficiently manning the various formations of the Government of India (GOI) dealing with water resources development. 


CWES officers, belonging to Civil Engineering or Mechanical Engineering streams, are recruited for the Group-A posts by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on the basis of Engineering Services Examination (ESE) or by way of promotion of Group ‘B’ officers in the feeder grade.


National Water Academy (NWA), Pune, the in house training institute of Central Water Commission (CWC), conducts induction training program for the directly recruited CWES officers joining at the Assistant Director level. The promotee CWES officers also undergo an orientation course at NWA. These trainings expose CWES officers to various aspects/issues of water sector and enable them with various techno-managerial tools to deal with various challenges in water sector.

Besides, NWA also conducts various types of trainings and capacity building programmes for CWES officers at different levels throughout the year. CWES officers are also sent on foreign trainings on regular basis.

Career Progression Framework

According to prevalent recruitment rules for CWES cadre, an officer is expected to put in minimum 4 years of service at Junior Time Scale (JTS) level, and 9 years at Senior Time Scale (STS) level before his or her promotion to the Junior Administrative Grade (JAG) level. During their tenure at JTS and STS level, the officers develop requisite competencies for bigger responsibilities at JAG level. At JAG and above, the officers are required to deliver well defined output. A CWES officer may further be promoted to Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) level & Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) level after putting in a minimum of 17 years and 25 years of Gr. A service respectively subject to other terms and conditions.

Further pay parity with two years junior batch IAS officers, who are on central posting, is also ensured for CWES officers with Non-Functional Upgradation(NFU)

S.N. Level Ascending Order of Precedence
1 Junior Time Scale Assistant Director / Assistant Executive Engineer
2 Senior Time Scale Deputy Director/ Executive Engineer/ Deputy   Commissioner (Equivalent to Under Secretary to GOI)
3 Non Functional Second Grade Deputy Director/ Executive Engineer/ Deputy Commissioner (Equivalent to Deputy Secretary to GOl)
4 Junior Administrative Grade Director/ Superintending Engineer/ Senior Joint Commissioner (Equivalent to Director to GOI)
5 Senior Administrative Grade Chief Engineer/ Commissioner (Equivalent to Joint Secretary to GOI)
6 Higher Administrative Grade Member, CWC/ Chairman, GFCC/KRMB/GRMB (Equivalent to Additional Secretary to GOI)
7 Apex Scale Chairman, CWC (Equivalent to Secretary to GOI)

Contribution by CWES Officers

CWES officers play versatile roles, amidst growing challenges, for the development and management of water resources of the country.

In general, 12 key functional domains can be identified for the functioning of CWES officers viz., 1. Basin Planning and Management 2. Water Management 3. River Management 4. Inter-state / International Conflict Resolution in water related disputes 5. Flood Forecasting/ Hydrological Observations 6. Human Resource Management and Administration 7. Hydrology 8. Civil / Structural Design of WR Projects 9. Survey and Investigation of WR projects 10. Appraisal of Water Resources Projects 11. Monitoring of Water Resources Projects 12. Hydro-mechanical Design of Water Resources Projects

These Functional domains have been assigned with well defined roles/ objectives and activities/ tasks. The groundwork in these domains prepares CWES officers to play vital roles in Policy Formulation in water sector, Planning for Development & Management of water resources, Designs & Research, River Management etc.

CWES officers head important organisations under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR). Majority of the CWES officers are posted in Central Water Commission (CWC) which promotes “integrated and sustainable development and management of India's water resources by using state-of-the-art technology and competency and by coordinating all stakeholders." Broad functions of CWC are as under:

  • To collect, compile, publish and analyse the hydrological and hydro-meteorological data relating to major rivers in the country, consisting of rainfall, runoff and temperature, etc;
  • To collect, maintain and publish statistical data relating to water resources and its utilization including quality of water throughout India;
  • To provide flood forecasting services to all major flood prone inter-state river basins of India through a network of flood forecasting stations;
  • To carry out Techno-economic appraisal of Irrigation, flood control & multipurpose projects proposed by the State Governments;
  • Monitoring of selected major and medium irrigation projects, to ensure the achievement of physical and financial targets.
  • To undertake necessary surveys and investigations as and when so required, to prepare designs and schemes for the development of river valleys in respect of power generation, irrigation by gravity flow or lift, flood management and erosion control, anti-water logging measures, drainage and drinking water supply;
  • To undertake Design Consultancy and Technical Studies for project planning and execution in the water resources sector;
  • To undertake construction work of any river valley development scheme on behalf of the Government of India or State Government concerned;
  • To advise the Government of India in respect of Water Resources Development, regarding rights and disputes between different States which affect any scheme for the conservation and utilization and any matter that may be referred to the Commission in connection with river valley development;
  • To advise the Government of India and the concerned State Governments on the basin-wise development of water resources;
  • To impart training to in-service engineers from Central and State Organizations in various aspects of water resource development;
  • To initiate studies on socio-agro-economic and ecological aspects of  irrigation projects for the sustained development of irrigation;
  • To conduct and coordinate research on the various aspects of river valley development schemes such as flood management, irrigation, navigation, water power development, etc., and the connected structural and design features;
  • To promote modern data collection techniques such as remote sensing technology for water resources development, flood forecasting and development of related computer software;
  • To conduct studies on dam safety aspects for the existing dams and standardize related instrumentation for dam safety measures;
  • To carry out morphological studies to assess river behaviour, bank erosion/coastal erosion problems and advise the Central and State Governments on all such matters;
  • To promote and create mass awareness regarding the progress and achievements made by the country in the water resources development, use and conservation.

A sizeable no. of posts of CWES are also encadered in other organizations. This includes encadered posts in MoWR, RD & GR, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee (SSCAC), Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC), Farakka Barrage Project (FBP), Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), Godavari River Management Board (GRMB), Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) etc. Opportunities are also available for CWES officers to head other organisations e.g. CWPRS, CSMRS, NIH, UYRB etc. CWES officers are also deputed on foreign assignments of planning and execution of Water Resources Projects and other long and short term deputations in international institutions such as Asian Development Bank (ADB). In addition, CWES Gr. ‘A’ officers avail opportunities of serving on important posts in other Govt. departments through central staffing scheme.

Besides, CWES officers also assume significant roles in other emerging an d challenging areas such as National Water Mission, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Inland Waterways, Coastal Management, Interlinking of Rivers etc. It is worthwhile to point out that the Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) programme as adopted by GoI envisaging inter-basin transfer of water from surplus basins to deficit basins was originally formulated by CWES officers as National Perspective Plan (NPP) for Water Resources Development in 1980.

Ever since its constitution as an organized Group ‘A’ Service, CWES has played a major role in achieving India’s water, food and energy security. The cadre has also given few excellent Secretaries to the Govt. of India - Sh. C D Thatte, Sh. M S Reddy, Sh. Z Hasan to name a few, to head the Union Ministry of Water Resources. 

CWES officers have played a pivotal role in the development of irrigation potential in the country. CWES officers have been directly associated with many major and medium projects in the country as well as neighboring countries. Some of the notable projects include Tehri, Naptha Jhakri, Srisailam, Farakka Barrage and ongoing national projects such as Polavaram Multipurpose Project. Important projects in neighbouring countries which have been designed by CWES officers include Punatsangchu stage-I&II HEP, Tala HEP, Chukha HEP (Bhutan), Arun-III HEP( Nepal) and Salma dam ( Afghan-India Friendship dam). CWES officers are also involved in the investigation and preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for Pancheswar Multipurpose Project, Sapta-Kosi and Sun-Kosi Multipurpose Project jointly with Nepal.

India could successfully defend its position in Baglihar and Kishenganga HEP issues in Indus river basin on international stage with the aid and advice of CWES officers.  Permanent post of Commissioner for Indus waters as per the provisions of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is normally headed by an officer belonging to CWES cadre. International treaties for water sharing with neighboring countries such as Mahakali Treaty with Nepal and Ganga waters treaty with Bangladesh are essentially contributions made by CWES officers. CWES officers are invariably involved in other mechanisms of cooperation for the beneficial use of waters and sharing of hydrological information with neighboring countries such as India-China Expert Level Mechanism (ELM), India-Nepal Joint Standing Technical Committee (JSTC), India-Nepal Joint Committee on Inundation and Flood Management (JCIFM), India-Bhutan Joint Group of Experts (JGE) and Joint Technical Team (JTT)  on Flood Management etc., Further, CWES officers represent CWC in Technical Committees of various international organizations such as ICID, WMO, ICOLD.