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Guidelines for ground water extraction

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Guidelines for ground water extraction

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Overview of the guidelines and water conservation fee.
  • For Mains: Groundwater usage- extent, concerns, pollution and the need for regulation.

 

Context: The Central Ground Water Authority of the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on December 12, 2018 notified revised guidelines for ground water extraction. The revised guidelines, which will be effective from June 1, 2019, aim to ensure a more robust ground water regulatory mechanism in the country.

  • The guidelines were revised in the wake of the directions issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to address various shortcomings in the existing guidelines of ground water extraction.

 

The revised guidelines provide for the:

  • Encouraged use of recycled and treated sewage water by industries.
  • Provision of action against polluting industries.
  • Mandatory requirement of digital flow meters, piezometers and digital water level recorders, with or without telemetry depending upon quantum of extraction.
  • Mandatory water audit by industries abstracting ground water 500 m3/day or more in safe and semi-critical area and 200 m3/day or more in critical and over-exploited assessment units.
  • Mandatory roof top rain water harvesting except for specified industries.
  • Measures to be adopted to ensure prevention of ground water contamination in premises of polluting industries/ projects.

 

Exemptions under the revised guidelines:

  • The revised guidelines exempt the requirement of NOC for agricultural users, users employing non-energised means to extract water, individual households (using less than 1 inch diameter delivery pipe) and Armed Forces Establishments during operational deployment.
  • Other exemptions have been granted to strategic and operational infrastructure projects for Armed Forces, Defence and Paramilitary Forces Establishments and Government water supply agencies.

 

Water Conservation Fee:

One of the important features of the revised guidelines is the introduction of the concept of Water Conservation Fee (WCF), the fee charged on extraction of ground water.

  • The WCF payable varies with the category of the area, type of industry and the quantum of ground water extraction.

 

Implications of Water Conservation Fee:

The high rates of WCF are expected to discourage setting up of new industries in over-exploited and critical areas as well as may limit large scale ground water extraction by industries, especially in over-exploited and critical areas.

 

Background:

In India, extracted groundwater is mainly used for irrigation and accounts for about 228 BCM (billion cubic metre) — or about 90% of the annual groundwater extraction. The rest, 25 BCM, is drawn for drinking, domestic and industrial uses.

  • India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, and accounts for about 25% of the global water extraction.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: India’s overexploitation of groundwater is leading to the worst water crisis in its history. Examine and suggest measures for improvement.