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.
The Ministry for Water Resources, River development and Ganga Rejuvenation issued a proposal to Industries to recharge the groundwater they extract and a ‘water conservation fee’ will be applicable to them for the same. States will use this revenue from fee for Groundwater Management.
Around 70% of the rural population is dependent on the groundwater in India. According to the 2012 World Bank report, if this trend of exploitation continues to remain, then 60% of all aquifers will be found in a critical condition in India.
Groundwater can be extracted of drinking water and domestic purpose from the notified areas and the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) will supervise the withdrawal of groundwater in non-notified areas. According to the regulation of groundwater extraction, there are two mechanisms:
1.No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for development of extraction points:
Industries which are already drawing or proposing to draw groundwater through energized means will need an NOC. Farmers can withdraw groundwater without NOC.
2.Ensuring recharge of the water extracted (which as per the new proposal will replace with charging of groundwater).
There are four other categories of groundwater users:
Government infrastructure projects, government water supply agencies and Group Housing Societies/ Private housing societies with only basic amenities are not liable to pay water charge.
Infrastructure projects will have to pay the lowest charges.
Packaged Drinking Water, Mineral Water,soft drink manufacturers, breweries and distilleries comes under higher brackets.
Mining projects and infrastructure dewatering projects have to pay the highest charges. But, government mining operations are exempt from this rule.
The ministry for Water Resources will dispatch the draft guidelines for the issuance of NOCs to all state governments, seeking the reply in the next 60 days.
Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has started aquifer mapping study in India for in river Tapi. It is the first urban local body (ULB) in the India to undertake aquifer mapping study. The aquifer mapping study requires for the aquifer-based groundwater management. They have also started setting up the French wells to supply water to the city. A heliborne survey based on electro resistivity technology (ERT) has been launched by the civic body in association of National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI). This heliborne survey is carried out over river Tapi stretch from Magdalla in the downstream to Kamrej in the upstream for aquifer mapping.
An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock from which groundwater can be extracted using water well. The aquifer mapping used to estimate the quality and quantity of the groundwater in an aquifer. The total 268 square kilometer area will be surveyed through heliborne survey. Around 500 metre beneath the riverbed scanned to identify and locate the confined and saturated aquiferusing this survey. The Official said that, it is a seven-day survey and after completing this survey, the civic body will locate French wells inside river or along the bank, land reservations for future water supply projects.
The additional city engineer KH Khatwani said that, the aquifer mapping study will help to find out the exact location of aquifer, its size, quantum of water it can store, recharge points and French Wells. And it also provides information necessary to replenish the declining Groundwater resources.The central government conducting study based on aquifer mapping in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra with the help by NGRI.
Groundwater is important resource of water and the groundwater depletion was an issue of concern in India over the years. But now, for the first time researchers from IIT-Kharagpur and NASA had given positive confirmation on the replenishment of groundwater storage at the regional scale, which is definitely very good news as it will help to improve groundwater levels in India.
ASA, there is replenishment of regional-scale groundwater storage (GWS) through long-term (1996-2014). The Research lead Abhijit Mukherjee from IIT-Kgp said that, according to the observation on the more than 19,000 groundwater locations by ground-based measurements and decadal-scale (2003-2014) satellite-based groundwater storage measurements, it is found that, a recent shift in paradigm in the Indian groundwater withdrawal, and the policies of management for sustainable water utilization have probably started replenishing aquifers by increasing storage in western and southern India.
Further he added that, they have demonstrated the initial scenarios of rejuvenating groundwater in some parts of India, which has the potential to replenishment groundwater at a great extent.
After many bad news about groundwater, here’s one good news! The Visakhapatnam district, has registered a rise in thegroundwater levels. As per the officials, the difference between the present and average is just 59 centi meters which is normal.
District groundwater department deputy director KK Sastry said that, if the district’s groundwater level is more than 9 meters then it will be a cause for worry only, but this year the district registered good groundwater level and this water level will increase in the coming months because of two monsoons.
Further Sastry added that, the groundwater level depends on two factors namely; rainfall and usage through bore wells.According to the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) officer, there are about 8000 public bore wells in the city. The civic official reported that, the use of ground water is not high by the public and the corporation also supplies sufficient water to the citizens.
As per the India Meteorological Department(IMD), this year the rainfall activity in the district was better in July compared to the same period last year and according to the IMD director (forecast) Naga Ratna, the district will receive better rains in August and September.
The actual rainfall registered in Visakhapatnam is 337mm against the average of 327.3mm from June 1 to July 31.
Groundwater is an important natural resource of water but people often take groundwater for granted because of its easy accessibility. Overuse of groundwater is causing the problem of groundwater table depletion and drying springs and aquifers.
In the third part of its Groundwater Lecture Series, held at Columbia Global Centers in Mumbai, one of India’s leading scientists on hydrogeology and an advocate for groundwater management and governance, Dr. Kulkarni, attempted the topic of India’s dependency on groundwater and how it could be result into groundwater crisis, if we left it unchecked.
Leading hydrogeology scientist Dr. Kulkarnipointed out issue of the over-exploitation and contamination of water resources. Water resources are over-exploited or contaminated with chemicals like arsenic that occur at deeper levels of groundwater in several districts of India, particularly in agriculture-heavy region. The situation is alarming in the regions where groundwater exploitation exceeds replenishment. He also spoke about steep rise in groundwater use and lack of reliable data for checking groundwater.