Strategy 3.3

Physical sustainability of ground water resources

Physical sustainability of ground water resources

1. Pursuing the enactment of bill for ground water regulation and management and its enforcement in over-exploited areas.

16 States/UTs (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Goa, Himachal  Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamilnadu, West-Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana and Maharashtra) have enacted Model Bill for regulation and management of groundwater. In 15 States/UTs, initiatives have been taken for enactment of Model Bills (Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Mizoram, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Daman & Diu, NCT Delhi, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Andaman & Nicobar and Chhattisgarh). Government of NCT Delhi is regulating ground water withdrawal through notification. Five States/UTs (Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh) have indicated that they do not feel it necessary to enact legislation.

2. Expeditious implementation of programme for conservation of water through recharge of groundwater, critical and semi-critical areas

There are 1071 assessment units categorized as over-exploited as per the 2011 assessment of CGWB. However, only 162 blocks have been notified so far. The States are required to translate district-wise Master Plan of CGWB into watershed-wise plans for rain water harvesting and artificial recharge in over-exploited, critical and semi-critical assessment units.All the 18 States/UTs having over-exploited blocks have been requested to prepare state-wise implementation plans for rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water based on the Master Plan of CGWB for both rural and urban areas in consultation with Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water Departments for artificial recharge and rain water harvesting.

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3. Active community participation in groundwater monitoring, regulation & management 

In the Indian legal system, the right to ground water is seen as following right to land. The source usually referred to in support of this is the Indian Easement Act, 1882, under which the exclusive right of the property rests with the owner to enjoy and dispose of this and all products thereof. This and other relevant provisions of the Act built upon common law principles establishing a rule of ‘absolute ownership’ overall there is below the surface of the earth of each land owner. Due to this provision, there has been indiscriminate development/over-exploitation of ground water resources in  country leading to quality deterioration and significant reduction in the useable ground water in many parts of the country.

Presently, regulation and control of ground water management and development is being done by Central Ground Water Authority for industries and infrastructure development projects only. However, there is no regulation  on withdrawal for irrigation purpose which is major consumer of ground water in India.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has undertaken Jal Kranti Abhiyan which has a component of community participation in monitoring and management of water resources. The CWC & CGWB have been advised to prepare district-wise water management plans incorporating the community participation as well.

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4. Promotion of a Panchayat/district level model for ground water regulation

Model Bill for Ground Water Regulation at Panchayat level formulated by the then Planning Commission is being redrafted by a Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Mihir Shah.

5. Exploration of groundwater including ground water exploration to decipher deeper fresh water aquifers up to 1000/1500 m

Currently, emphasis is on National Project on Aquifer Mapping and Management (NAQUIM) envisaging exploration down to 200 m/300 m in hard rock and soft rock areas respectively.

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