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India’s groundwater governance is in better shape

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Groundwater is water that exists under the earth’s surface and is a massive supply of water. Groundwater accounts for around 22% of all water below the surface of the earth. According to the World Bank, India is the greatest consumer of groundwater. Groundwater is the lifeblood of India’s agriculture and rural and urban drinking water security. It provides almost 80% of the country’s drinking water and two-thirds of its irrigation requirements. Groundwater is critical to the security of India’s water supply.

Steps done by the government to ensure sustainable groundwater management include: reducing groundwater extraction to less than 70%, expanding the network of groundwater observation wells, and Installing digital water level recorders for continuous monitoring Groundwater quality monitoring on a regular basis, Aquifer mapping and data dissemination Better control of industrial groundwater extraction, Promoting participatory groundwater management, as well as conducting periodic groundwater resource assessments.

Jal Shakti Ministry is established (a merger of the erstwhile Ministries of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation along with Drinking Water and Sanitation). The Jal Shakti Abhiyan was designed to turn Jan Shakti into Jal Shakti through asset development, rainwater collecting (the ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign), and a comprehensive awareness campaign.

Initiatives for effective groundwater management and regulation- Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY): It seeks to instilbehavioural change through incentivisation. NAQUIM (National Aquifer Management Project): It envisions mapping of subterranean water-bearing geological formations (aquifers) to aid in data collection and informed decision-making.

In India, there are approximately 65,025 groundwater monitoring stations, including 7,885 automated stations. To test for the presence of heavy and trace metals, samples are collected from fixed sites. ‘India-Groundwater Resource Estimation System (IN-GRES)’ software has also been created.

In comparison to 2017, there has been a 3% decrease in the number of ‘overexploited’ groundwater units and a 4% increase in the number of’safe’ category units. Groundwater conditions improved in 909 of the units. A decrease in yearly extraction (of approximately 53(nine and five three) billion cubic metres). Since 2017, overall extraction has been dropping by roughly 25(three point two five)%.

It demonstrates that a time-bound and scientific method to monitoring valuable water supplies is being used. It reflects a favourable attitude toward groundwater management. In 2020, comprehensive groundwater rules for regulation in numerous industries will be implemented. Using a web-based application to make the process of issuing a no-objection certificate visible and time-bound. Interventions of the government in enabling a favourable influence on the overall groundwater scenario.

The theme of UN World Water Day 2022, ‘Groundwater, Making the Invisible Visible,’ reflects the global importance placed on the resource. In addition to standard exploratory approaches, a heli-borne survey (state-of-the-art technology) was employed for speedy and accurate aquifer mapping. Aquifer management strategies for each region are being developed and shared with states.

Annual dynamic groundwater evaluations will now be performed, and a groundwater estimating committee will be created to modify the assessment process. The good improvement in groundwater management demonstrates the spirit of cooperative federalism in the management of this valuable resource. Artificial water conservation buildings added around 37(nine point three seven) BCM of extra groundwater potential.

To address anthropogenic stresses, India will require enough groundwater supplies. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, it is critical to maintain source sustainability in order to deliver clean drinking water to all rural families by 2024. Communities will need to improve their groundwater management with the assistance of different government agencies and non-governmental groups.

Find answers that are necessary for long-term development. Steps must be done to transform India into a water surplus nation, so achieving a critical United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of water for everyone.

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