NEW DELHI: Many cities in India faced an acute water shortage this summer, with authorities in Shimla going to the extent of requesting tourists to stay away due to the crisis. According to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) analysis, the situation will worsen in the future as groundwater levels across India have fallen by 0 to 2 metres in a decade.In order to assess the fall in water level on a long-term basis, pre-monsoon water level data collected by CGWB during pre-monsoon 2018 was compared with the decadal average from 2008-2017.
“About 52 per cent of the wells monitored have registered decline in groundwater levels, mostly in the range of 0-2 metres. The states in which the problem is more acute are Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu,” CGWB data revealed.The report attributed this to withdrawal of groundwater in excess of the annual recharge from various sources and destruction of natural waterbodies like lakes and ponds which in turn results in a decline in natural recharge of groundwater.
A recent NITI Aayog report had also warned that the country could face its worst water crisis ever as 21 cities will run out of groundwater by 2020. The Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index revealed that with nearly 600 million Indians facing high-to-extreme water stress and about 200,000 people dying every year due to inadequate access to safe water, the situation is likely to worsen as the demand for water will exceed supply by 2050.
Water being a state subject, Ministry of Water Resources has circulated a Model Bill to all States/UTs to enable them to enact suitable groundwater legislation for its regulation and development that includes provision for rain water harvesting.“So far, only 15 States/UTs have adopted and implemented the groundwater legislation on the lines of the Model Bill,” said Nitin Gadkari.
The country’s groundwater levels are being monitored four times in a year by CGWB through a network of 22,339 monitoring wells during the months of January and the pre-monsoon months of March, April and May.Groundwater monitoring began in 1969 and at present the CGWB has a network of 22,339 observation wells, out of which 16,190 observation wells are dug wells and 6,149 are piezometers. Data has been collected from all states except for Mizoram, Sikkim and UT of Lakshadweep where water level monitoring is not done.
Monitoring the dip
The country’s groundwater levels are being monitored four times in a year by CGWB through a network of 22,339 monitoring wells during the months of January and the pre-monsoon months of March, April and May. The monitoring began in 1969 and at present the CGWB has a network
of 22,339 observation wells, out of which 16,190 are dug wells and 6,149 are piezometers