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Depletion of Groundwater Resources High, Reveal Figures

The National Water Policy (2012) formulated by Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR, inter-alia, advocates conservation, promotion and protection of water and highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through rain water harvesting, direct use of rainfall and other management measures. The National Water Policy (2012) has been forwarded to all State/UTs and concerned Central Government Ministries/ Departments for adoption.

Further, Government of India has circulated a Model Bill 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. Also, 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. CGWA has so far notified 162 areas in the Country for the purpose of regulation of ground water. CGWA has also issued advisories to States and UTs to take measures to promote/adopt artificial recharge to ground water / rain water harvesting. So far, 30 States/UTs have made rain water harvesting mandatory by enacting laws or by formulating rules & regulations or by including provisions in their building bye-laws or through suitable Government Orders.

Other steps taken by the Central Government to control depletion of ground water resources are available at the following URL http://mowr.gov.in/writereaddata/GW_Depletion.pdf.

As per CGWA guidelines, any user withdrawing groundwater for industrial/ infrastructure / mining project has to obtain ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)’. Any withdrawal of ground water without valid NOC from CGWA is liable to have penal action under Section 15 of ‘The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986’, under which imprisonment for a term which may extend upto five years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both with provisions for additional fine of Rs.5,000/- per day for continued failure or contravention.

Central Ground Water Board conducts and facilitates research in ground water domain by taking up research projects at its Training and Research Institute.

Central Government is also encouraging R&D studies to ensure safe ground water. CGWB under Indian National Committee on Ground Water (INCGW) R&D programme is sponsoring Research Project for groundwater. Under the R&D scheme of MoWR, RD&GR, budget is allocated for sponsoring research in water resource sector that includes groundwater component and funds are allocated through INCGW.

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.

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