The groundwater is the major source of clean water availability to any country. Besides drinking it is the most important source of water for irrigation and industrial sector in both rural and urban India. Till yet it was considered most reliable and dependable source of clean water even though its availability depends on rainfall and recharging.
Of every 4 liters of groundwater extracted in the world, 1 liter is extracted in India, making it the largest consumer of the groundwater resource across the world. It has nearly 30 million wells, both old and new from which roughly 250 cubic km water is withdrawn, which is equivalent to almost 200 years of water requirement for the 2nd most populous city of the world, Delhi . This situation is deteriorated to the alarming situation. Out of data captures for 4000 wells, 54 percent has dropped over the past seven years, with 16 percent declining by more than 1 meter (3.2 feet) per year. The farmers’ over reliance on groundwater, coupled with ease of getting the bore wells with subsidised energy supply , with no laws to limit the use the excessive water has created the vicious circle.
Northwestern India again stands out as highly vulnerable. Of the 550 wells studied in the region, 58 percent have declining groundwater levels in last 10 years.
Causes of groundwater depletion
The overgrowing economy putting a stress on water supply.., the situation has further worsen due to mismanagement of resources. One may also lead to believe that due to climate change the challenges has accelerated. However one thing can be stated that this issue is a man made and cannot be considered natural, considering the fact that India does not fall into the dry climate zone and the rivers are sufficient in the country. The groundwater levels have depleted due to extreme extraction of water. The number of wells have been drilled to the alarming levels which are used for irrigation, industries and changing lifestyles. The domestic need of fresh water has also been increased over the years that has added to the worsening of the situation. Basically the poor management of resources, unplanned laws, corruption, interstate conflicts and improper balance of the economy are the major reasons of the issue.
Vote bank politics is not allowing the resolution to get executed. In order to change the situation first of all our perception regarding the same needs to be brought to realistic levels and we must realise that we are standing at point of no return. Further we need to bring efficient water irrigation practices and remove the non sustainable crop pattern in the respective geographies. After all how could you imagine the basmati rice be grown in the region where natural rain fall pattern do not sustain it. Rainwater harvesting needs to be promoted in big way so that ground water recharging takes place.
It is now critical for the government to set up stricter laws in the management of the water and must focus on reusing and recycling to minimize wastage. The plans has to be setup for encouraging rainwater harvesting and wastewater management for addressing the issue. The plans for the same has been proposed in the twelfth five year plans for the water management by the cities and the industries as the situation is more worse in urban India than rural India.
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