Thursday, July 11, 2019

Groundwater Must Be The Focus Of India National Water Policy

India's Water Management Crisis

A piercingly clear essay by Himanshu Thakkar on why India must realign its water resources priorities from big dams and river linking projects to protecting, managing, and regulating ground water.

Just take a look at the numbers:

"Most of the water that India uses today comes from over 30 million wells and tubewells. Irrigation is India’s biggest user of water and over two thirds of irrigated area gets water from groundwater. 85% of rural domestic supply, over 55% of Urban and Industrial water supply comes from groundwater. The graph of % of water in each sub sector coming from groundwater has been going up for at least four decades. In fact, some estimates show that over 90% of additional water India used in last four decades have come from groundwater. It sounds like an immitigable blessing. That’s not how blessings work, unfortunately.

Central Ground Water Board’s data shows that in about 70% of areas, groundwater is depleting and at many places it has exhausted or is on verge of exhaustion. The quality is deteriorating. Warnings have been available for decades now, but the government has done little to address the emerging crisis.

In fact, India’s water resources establishment, lead by the Big dam ideologues at Central Water Commission have ensured that the government do not even acknowledge that groundwater is India’s water lifeline"....


Some States have taken initiatives to manage ground water. Maharashtra recently passed the Maharashtra Ground Water Act which provides a framework for management and regulation of ground water. How much diligent enforcement of the rules actually takes place remains to be seen.

Additional Reading:

The Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Act 2009 - Shashank Deshpande, Deputy Director GSDA.

A Decade Of The Maharashtra Ground Water Legislation: Analysis Of The Implementation Process - Sanjiv Phansalkar and Vivek Kher.

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