Saving the precious – Assessing the India’s groundwater situation | 14th November 2022 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about India's groundwater situation based on the recently released report by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.


  • GS1: Distribution of Key Natural Resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent)
  • Prelims

What's the crux of the article?

  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti released the “Dynamic Ground Water Resource Assessment Report” for the entire country for the year 2022.
  • The assessment was carried out jointly by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and States/UTs, which can be used for taking suitable interventions by various stakeholders.
  • Assessment indicates an increase in groundwater recharge.
    • total annual groundwater recharge = 437.60 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM)
    • Total annual groundwater extraction = 239.16 BCM
  • Report suggests that groundwater extraction is the lowest since 2004, when it was 231 bcm.
  • Out of total 7089 assessment units, 1006 units categorised as ‘Over-exploited’.
  • About 87% of total annual groundwater extraction i.e 208.49 bcm is for irrigation use.
  • Only 30.69 bcm (about 13 % of the total extraction) is for Domestic & Industrial use.

State wise Assessment:

  • The groundwater extraction is very high in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu where it is more than 100%.
  • The groundwater extraction is between 60-100% in the states of Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and UTs of Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
  • In the rest of the states, the groundwater extraction is below 60%.


  • Groundwater recharge or deep drainage or deep percolation is a hydrologic process, where water moves downward from surface water to groundwater.
    • Recharge is the primary method through which water enters an aquifer.
  • India is the largest user of Groundwater, accounting for 1/4th of total withdrawal, in the World.

Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA):

  • The CGWA was constituted under Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate, control development and management of groundwater resources.

Challenges with Management of Groundwater in India:

  • Unregulated extraction
  • Excessive Irrigation
  • Lack of awareness about groundwater management practices
  • Groundwater Pollution
  • Climate Change: global warming
  • Absence of central law governing the use of groundwater
  • various States have their own laws on regulating its extraction.

Way Forward:

  • Water ought not to be considered a free, private resource but one whose costs must be measured and borne equitably. While water remains a politically contentious subject in India, the climate crisis should inspire consensus across the political spectrum on disincentivizing the wasteful consumption of this precious resource.

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