Groundwater is one of the important natural resources of water and India is the largest user of groundwater. But, people often take groundwater for granted. Groundwater over-exploitation is one of the biggest issues of concern in India. So, our government is coming up with scheme called the Atal Bhujal Yojana(ABY) of Rs 6,000-crore to tackle with this problem.
This scheme will be launched in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Akhil Kumar, the joint secretary in charge of groundwater in the water ministry said that, this scheme will be for five years.
The money will be given to the states in two parts; the 50% of the money will be given to states along with the grampanchayat as an incentive for groundwater management to encourage active participation of communities with an aim to bring in a concept of self-regulation and the other 50% money for strengthening institutional arrangements such as providing a strong database and scientific approach for accomplishment of sustainable management of groundwater. The senior ministry official said that, the state that will put more efforts for groundwater augmentation will get more incentive.
Due to the shortage of Drinking Water, lowering groundwater levels, high water pollution and growing cautiousness for health, the demand for purified drinking water has increased in India. With this growing demand for purified Drinking Water, bottled water and water purifier business has become the most lucrative businesses in the country. As per the latest estimates, the water purifier market is increasing at 15-20% annually.
So, many new players are entering into this water business. Havells India is also coming with the wide range of water purifiers. Narendra Choudhary, Executive VP, Havells India said that, they are entering into growing water purifier market with premium range and expects Rs 100 crore business in 2018-19. These water purifiers maintain the pH balance in water and have natural mineral fortification capability.
Further he added that, this market is an extremely under penetrated with only 1 per cent of the country covered and water purifier is much needed product in India. Currently, the water purifier industry in the organized sector is around Rs 4,500 crore. This market is expected to double in the next four years.
As per the news article in The Indian Express, according to the Comparison and analysis of pre-monsoon water levels in 2017 conducted by the CGWB, it is found that, water level in around 57 per cent of observation wells in the Maharashtra are declining rapidly. Experts said that, though, this declination of water level is less than the national average of 60.7 per cent, it is a serious issue of concern.
This exploitation of groundwater is not only about declining level of water but, it is also in terms of high contamination found in groundwater. In about 20 districts in Maharashtra, the presence of heavy metals is recorded at above permissible level in groundwater. The consumption of such water contaminated with metal can be very dangerous for human health.
So, new stringent rules were created in the Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Act 2009 to check unregulated extraction of groundwater, especially from areas having problem of water shortage. Officials also said that, there is a plan to create 1.11 rain water-harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the country with the support of central government.
As per the latest news, Coal India (CIL) and IRCTC are coming together for producing Packaged Drinking WaterRail Neer. The IRCTC will now use the excess groundwater from coal mines. A railway official said that, Coal Mines will supply excess groundwater to the Packaged Drinking Water Plant, which has produced after coal extraction.
Every year, these coal mines produce over 5,700 lakh cusecs of water and even after utilizing these water for their own use, agriculture purpose and supply to local communities, they have around 2,036.5 lakh cusec excess water per year.
In the country like India, where most of the regions are facing the problem of water shortage, it is a great idea to utilize the excess groundwater from coal mines for producing purified Packaged Drinking Water.
The Pune is one the seven districts in Maharashtra, where the groundwater has been found to be over-exploited. The demand for using the groundwater is growing constantly in Pune and this same trend has been observed in a total of 22 Villages in Maharashtra.
Mr. I. I. Shah, additional director at GSDA, Pune said that, the agency under the Jalswarajya-II Programme has decided to undertake real-time mapping of 12 aquifers to control this depletion of groundwater, where the hydrologists will study about various factors responsible for depletion. The World Bank also initiated its intervention programmes, to discharge the groundwater in a planned manner.
A team member of the Jalswarajya-II Project said that, they will also need people’s participation to solve this problem of over-exploitation of groundwater. They will make use of artificial means to improve the recharge rate, if required.
Recent Blast claimed at least 15 lives in Tamilnadu
Vetrivel Explosives Private Limited, a factory in T Murungapatti, near Thuraiyur, 84 km from Tiruchy, Tamilnadu where , the incidence took place was said to be discharging Polluted Water in the surrounding areas. The company is operational from last 15 years, but from last 5 years local activists were demanding closure of the unit.
There are complaints that not enough care is taken towards the workmen & surrounding area health & safety. Groundwater is extracted in this area as it is the only source. But it was contaminated due to untreated water being taken out of the factory. It contains heavy nitrate, this may be the major groundwater contaminant.
Lessons for setting up a Packaged Drinking Water Plant
Already the Pollution Control Boards have strict rules in place while setting up plants, but this should be more closely addresses , because if your water , the groundwater , which is the major source , gets poor quality water like this, you can hardly survive in business.
Does a Packaged Drinking Water Plant require CGWA permission ?
So, there were a lot of comments & questions asked to us on this aspect. I shall try to resolve this query now.
First , what is CGWA ?
CGWA is the Central Government authority in India which regulates the extraction of Groundwater.Read More…
What do they Do ?
Since the Ground Water is limited, it always gives permission or regulates the extraction. For this, it also controls the usage. However we shall look into the aspect of Packaged Drinking Water Plant. Does everyone need to look into getting a permission ?
CGWA calls the area where they have totally banned the extraction except for drinking water as Notified areas.