Reduction in Groundwater levels

Reduction in Groundwater levels

News: Ground water levels in some parts of the Country are declining because of continuous withdrawal necessitated by increased demand of fresh water for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increased population, industrialization & urbanization (as per report of Central Ground water board)

What is present status of Groundwater reduction in India?
• According to the CGWB, with 230 billion metre cubes of groundwater drawn out each year for irrigating agriculture lands in India, many parts of the country are experiencing rapid depletion of groundwater.
• The total estimated groundwater depletion in India is in the range of 122–199 billion metre cubes.
• 89% of ground water extracted is used in the irrigation sector, making it the highest category user in the country.
• This is followed by ground water for domestic use which is 9% of the extracted groundwater. Industrial use of ground water is 2%.
• 50% of urban water requirements and 85% of rural domestic water requirements are also fulfilled by ground water.

What are the reasons for groundwater reduction?
• Green Revolution enabled water intensive crops to be grown in drought prone/ water deficit regions, leading to over extraction of groundwater.
• Frequent pumping of water from the ground without waiting for its replenishment leads to quick depletion.
• Subsidies on electricity and high MSP (Minimum Support Price) for water intensive crops.
• Industries Requirement - Water contamination as in the case of pollution by landfills, septic tanks, leaky underground gas tanks, and from overuse of fertilizers and pesticides leading to damage and depletion of groundwater resources.
• Inadequate regulation of groundwater encourages the exhaustion of groundwater resources without any penalty.
• Water being a State subject, initiatives on water management including water conservation and water harvesting and making available adequate drinkable water to citizens in the Country is primarily States’ responsibility.

What are the initiatives taken by Central government to manage Groundwater levels?
• It is promoting the concept of conjunctive use of surface and groundwater based on the village/gram panchayat level water security plan prepared in a scientific manner through participation of communities/stakeholders.
• Atal Bhujal Yojana for sustainable management of ground water resources with community participation.
• Jal Shakti Abhiyan was launched in 2019 in 256 water stressed districts in the country to improve water availability including ground water conditions in these areas. It has special emphasis on creation of recharge structures, rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, intensive afforestation etc.
• The CGWB has taken up Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme. It is aimed to delineate aquifer disposition and their characterization for preparation of aquifer/area specific groundwater management plans with community participation.
• Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) focuses on development of basic urban infrastructure in the AMRUT cities, such as water supply, sewerage management, storm water drainage, green spaces & parks, and non-motorized urban transport.

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