In this article, we will discuss India’s Groundwater Consumption Scenario. So, let’s get started.
India’s Groundwater Consumption Scenario
- India is by far the largest user of groundwater in the world, accounting for 25% of the global water withdrawals; ~ 45% of the water supply in India’s cities is sourced from groundwater.
- The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) estimates that about 17% of the groundwater blocks across the country are overexploited, where the rate of extraction is more than that of renewal.
- According to the CGWB, with 230 BCM (billion cubic metre) of groundwater drawn out each year for irrigating agricultural lands in India, many parts of the country are experiencing rapid depletion of groundwater.
- The total estimated groundwater depletion in India is about 122–199 BCM.
- The agriculture sector uses 89% of the groundwater for irrigation while 11% is used by the domestic and industrial sectors. At the State level, in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi groundwater extraction is more than 100%.
Groundwater an ‘Invisible’ Resource
- The theme for this year’s World Water Day (March 22) is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible, Visible”.
- Unlike surface water (rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.), groundwater is “invisible”. A quick internet search will yield that thousands of images of rivers or lakes are victims of encroachment, scarcity, and pollution.
- But while groundwater faces the same challenges, there is hardly any visual evidence.
- Due to this, groundwater-related issues and crises often go unnoticed, especially at smaller scales – it is only when extensive studies involving huge budgets are carried out that these come to the fore.
Government Initiatives for Groundwater Management
- National Project on Aquifer Management: NAQUIM aims to provide comprehensive and realistic information on groundwater resources in different hydro-geological settings in real time.
- This can help prepare, implement, and monitor the efficacy of various management interventions, which, in turn, can help achieve drinking water security, improved irrigation facilities and sustainability in water resources development.
- Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater – 2020: CGWB in consultation with the state governments has prepared The Master Plan – 2020 which envisages construction of about 1.42 crore Rain water harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the Country to harness 185 BCM.
- In addition, the government has also launched the ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign to promote rainwater harvesting.
- Atal Bhujal Yojana: Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY), co-funded by World Bank funding, was launched for sustainable management of ground water with community participation in the identified over-exploited and water stressed areas.