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Groundwater in India (GS Paper 1 – Geography)

 v  Context: A report published by United Nations University has warned that 27 of the 31 aquifers in India are depleting faster than they can be replenished.

·       India is the world's largest groundwater extractor, surpassing China and the US combined.

·       As per the Central Ground Water Board, 70% of India's water comes from groundwater sources.

 Reasons for Groundwater Depletion

Ø  Agricultural overexploitation: Agriculture accounts for over 80% of groundwater use in India.

Ø  Inadequate regulation: The Mihir Shah Committee highlighted a lack of focus on institutional innovations in the water sector.

Ø  Climate change: Droughts and rising temperatures are causing decreased rainfall and increased evaporation, reducing aquifer recharge.

Ø  Urbanisation: Urbanization creates more impervious surfaces, limiting groundwater recharge.

Ø  Deforestation: It causes more soil erosion and less rainfall infiltration.

Ø  Subsidies on electricity and water

Ø  Population growth


Government Initiatives for Groundwater Conservation 

Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY)

·       Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY) is a central sector scheme of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

·       Aim: to improve groundwater management through community participation.

·       It will be implemented in priority areas across seven states: Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and UP.

·       It is funded by the GoI and the World Bank on a 50:50 basis.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain

·       Catch the Rain is an annual campaign under Jal Shakti Abhiyan.

·       Aim: to encourage people to adopt rainwater harvesting practices.

ð  Jal Shakti Abhiyan was launched in water-stressed districts by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

ð  It focuses on promoting water conservation and water resource management by:

  1. Water conservation and rainwater harvesting
  2. Renovation of traditional and other water bodies
  3. Reuse of water and recharging of structures
  4. Watershed development
  5. Intensive afforestation

 National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme (NAQUIM)

·       NAQUIM is implemented by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB).

·       It is a part of the Ground Water Management and Regulation Scheme (a central sector scheme)

·       Objectives of NAQUIM are:

v  Delineation & characterisation of aquifers in 3D to understand their disposition

v  Identification & quantification of groundwater issues

v  Development of groundwater management plans

 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

·       PMKSY is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

·       Aims:

v  To enhance physical access to water on the farm

v  To expand cultivable area under assured irrigation

v  To improve on-farm water use efficiency

v  To introduce sustainable water conservation practices

·       The main components of PMKSY are:

  1. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)
  2. Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP): It has four sub-components.

1)     Command Area Development (CAD)

2)     Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI)

3)     Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies

4)     Ground Water Development

  1. Watershed Development
  2. Per Drop More Crop

·       The Central and State Governments share funds under the scheme at a 60:40 ratio, except for the North Eastern and Himalayan states, where the ratio is 90:10.

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