As per latest assessment carried out jointly by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and State Government Departments for 2011, out of 6607 assessment units in the Country, 1071 assessment units in 15 States and 3 UTs are categorized as ‘Over-exploited’. Reasons for depletion of ground water resources is mainly due to growing population, urbanization and industrialization.

In view of growing population, the per capita water availability in India is reducing progressively.  The average annual per capita water availability in the years 2001 and 2011 was assessed as 1820 cubic meters and 1545 cubic meters respectively, which may reduce further to 1341 and 1140 in the years 2025 and 2050 respectively.

This information was given by Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation  DR. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply in Lok Sabha today:

• Circulation of a Model Bill, by this Ministry, to all the States/UTs to enable them to enact suitable ground water legislation for its regulation and development which includes provision of rain water harvesting. So far, 15 States/UTs have adopted and implemented the ground water legislation on the lines of Model bill.

• Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has prepared a conceptual document entitled “Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India” during 2013, involving ground water scientists/experts. The Master Plan envisages construction of 1.11 crore rain water harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the Country at an estimated cost of Rs.79,178 crores to harness 85 BCM (Billion Cubic Metre) of water. The augmented ground water resources will enhance the availability of water for drinking, domestic, industrial and irrigation purpose. The Master Plan has been circulated to all State Governments for implementation.

• The Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation has suggested all States to adopt water conservation measures like roof top rainwater harvesting, erecting sustainability structures for water conservation etc. For creating such sustainability structures, 10 % of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) funds are provided to the States.

• Department of Land Resources is currently implementing 8214 watershed development projects in 28 States covering an area of about 39.07 million ha. under the Watershed Development Component (WDC) of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) principally for development of rainfed portions of net cultivated area and culturable wastelands. The major activities taken up under the WDC-PMKSY, inter-alia, include ridge area treatment, drainage line afforestation, soil and moisture conservation, rain water harvesting, horticulture, and pasture development etc.

• The Ministry of Rural Development in consultation and agreement with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has issued ‘Mission Water Conservation Guidelines’ to be implemented by all the States for scientific planning and execution of water management works with the use of latest technology. The thrust is on Planning and Monitoring Framework for Natural Resource Management (NRM) related works under MGNREGA in convergence with Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Integrated Watershed Programme (IWMP) and Command Area and Water Management (CAD&WM) schemes. This will lead to better outcomes of water conservation and water harvesting measures.

• Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has been constituted under “The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986” for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water development and management in the Country. So far, CGWA has notified 162 areas in the Country for the purpose of regulation of ground water.

• CGWA has issued advisories to States and UTs to take measures to promote/adopt artificial recharge to ground water / rain water harvesting. 30 States/UTs have made rain water harvesting mandatory by enacting laws or by formulating rules & regulations or by including provisions in Building bye-laws or through suitable Government Orders.

• CGWB has taken up Aquifer Mapping and Management programme during XII Plan, under the scheme of Ground Water Management and Regulation. The Aquifer Mapping is aimed to delineate aquifer disposition and their characterization for preparation of aquifer/area specific ground water management plans, with community participation.

• MoWR, RD & GR has also launched ‘Jal Kranti Abhiyan’ (2015-16 to 2017-18) in order to consolidate water conservation and management in the Country through a holistic and integrated approach involving all stakeholders, making it a mass movement.

• CGWB has been organizing mass awareness programmes in the Country to promote rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water; about 13 lakh children participated in a nation-wide painting competition in the last year to promote conservation of water.