CGWB aims to boost conservation of groundwater in country: Naik

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Feb 2018 09:53:50


By Rajendra Diwe,

Aquifer mapping of about nine lakh sq kms area across the country has been completed and mapping of another nine lakh sq kms will be completed in another three years, said K.C Naik, Chairman of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) on Friday.

Naik was in city to participate in Bhujal Manthan organised by Central Ground Water Board, Central Region and Ministry of Water Resources, River development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India at Suresh Bhat Auditorium.

Talking to The Hitavada, Naik stated, Government has started an ambitious National Project on Aquifer Management (NAQUIM) under national water policy 2012. In the first phase out of 33 lakh sq kms of the country 23 lakh sq kms area has been identified for mapping. Aquifer mapping is a process wherein a combination of geologic, geophysical, hydrologic and chemical field and laboratory analyses are applied to characterize the quantity, quality and sustainability of ground water in aquifers. After the successful completion of aquifer mapping of nine lakh sq kms, now mapping of another nine lakh sq kms in progress, he added.

The three D maps about the resources of individual aquifer and individual planning are available. In last two years, CGWB has identified priority areas which are suffering due to over exploitation of water. Out of the 6,665 blocks in India, 1,034 blocks are suffering because of over exploitation of water. The unit of over exploitation varies from block to block. In initial stage, the blocks are identified in seven states like Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states, Naik highlighted.

Stating that NAQUIM was not merely aquifer mapping, Naik mentioned that the scheme also addresses sustainable planning and management of ground water management through community participation. Participatory Ground Water Management (PGWM) is based on demand and supply principle. The areas having surplus ground water and areas having scarcity of ground water have been identified. A budgetary provision of Rs 6,000 has been made under the financial budget this year for ‘Atal Bhoojal Yojana’ which has to be implemented in districts having water scarcity. Rs 3,000 crores will be provided by Government of India while Rs 3,000 crores will be given by World Bank. As a pilot project, the scheme would be launched in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, covering 78 districts, 193 blocks and more than 8,300 gram panchayats, he said.

Naik expressed a concern over scarcity of ground water which has been an important problem in India. Ground water has been termed as vital natural resource to meet water requirement of the country. Over 60 percent of the total area under irrigation is depending on ground water. About 85% of the rural drinking water supply is also met from ground water sources. The share of borewell irrigation went up from mere one percent during 1960-16 to 60 percent. The estimated number of wells and bore wells in India is now around twenty-seven million, with bore wells accounting for more than 50 percent. There is a steady increase in the share of groundwater in irrigation over every decade. Identifying the problem, Government has planned Rs 40,000 crores to boost irrigation. Rs 2,600 crores have been allocated to 96 districts having scarcity of ground water, he added.

CGWB has initiated various projects under PGWM programmes and sharing of water from the states having surplus ground water to the state with ground water scarcity has been planned. In addition, revival and rehabilitation of water bodies, ground water levels etc has been taken up, he added.