Measures to Check Over Exploitation of Ground Water

Central Ground Water Board carries out periodic assessment of replenishable ground water resources jointly with the State Government Departments of the Country including Punjab.

As per the latest assessment, the total annual replenishable ground water resource of the Country is around 433 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM).

The net annual ground water availability is 398 BCM out of which annual ground water utilization (draft) is estimated as 245 BCM and stage of ground water development/exploitation is 62%.

Out of the total 6607 assessment units (Blocks/ Mandals/ Talukas/ Firkas/Districts) assessed in the country, 1071 units are categorised as ‘Over-Exploited’.

Ground Water Resources Estimation (GEC-1997) methodology outlines a procedure for estimating ground water availability for future irrigation use. Ground water availability for future irrigation is worked out by deducting the existing draft for irrigation and projected demand for domestic and industrial use upto 2025 from the net annual ground water availability.

As per the ground water resource assessment 2011, ground water availability for future irrigation use for India as a whole is 154.71 BCM and that of Punjab is -14.83 BCM. Negative values indicate that overall ground water demand in the state exceeds annual availability.

Measures taken up by the Central Government to check over exploitation of ground water in the country include :

• The National Water Policy (2012) formulated by Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR, inter-alia, advocates conservation, promotion and protection of water and highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through rain water harvesting, direct use of rainfall and other management measures. The National Water Policy (2012) has been forwarded to all State Governments/ UTs and concerned Ministries/ Departments of Central Government for adoption.

• This Ministry has circulated a Model Bill to all the States/UTs to enable them to enact suitable ground water legislation for its regulation and development which includes provision of rain water harvesting. So far, 15 States/UTs have adopted and implemented the ground water legislation on the lines of Model Bill. In addition, 30 States/UTs have made rain water harvesting mandatory by enacting laws or by formulating rules & regulations or by including provisions in Building bye-laws or through suitable Government Orders.

• Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has been constituted under “The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986” for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water development and management in the Country. So far, CGWA has notified 162 areas in the Country for the purpose of regulation of ground water. Under the CGWA guidelines, in notified areas, no permission is accorded to extract ground water through any energized means for any purpose other than drinking water. However, for non-notified areas, ground water withdrawal by industries is regulated by means of guidelines/criteria as specified as CGWA.

• CGWB has also prepared a conceptual document entitled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India” during 2013. The Master Plan envisages construction of 1.11 Crore rain water harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the Country at an estimated cost of Rs. 79,178 Crores to harness 85 BCM (Billion Cubic Metre) of water. The augmented ground water resources will enhance the availability of water for drinking, domestic, industrial and irrigation purpose. The Master Plan has been circulated to all State Governments for implementation.

• The Department of Rural Development has prioritized work related with Natural Resources Management (including water harvesting) under MGNREGA and has issued a joint framework with this Ministry and Department of Land Resources. For FY 2016-17, the States have taken up a target of 8,82,325 farm ponds.

• CGWB has taken up Aquifer Mapping and Management programme during XII Plan, under the scheme of Ground Water Management and Regulation. The Aquifer Mapping is aimed to delineate aquifer disposition and their characterization for preparation of aquifer/area specific ground water management plans with community participation.

• Ministry of Urban Development has circulated its Model Building Bye-Laws (2016) to all State Governments which, inter-alia, incorporates provisions for Rain Water Harvesting.

• Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have merged two separate programmes, namely, National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) and National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) into a new Integrated Scheme of National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-Systems (NPCA) for conservation and management of identified lakes and wetlands in the country.

• CGWB has been organizing mass awareness programmes in the country to promote rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water.