- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Groundwater crisis- causes, extent, concerns, challenges and measures by govt to save groundwater.
Context: Expressing concern over depleting groundwater levels, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set up a committee to formulate steps required to prevent illegal extraction of groundwater.
Why conserve groundwater?
- Groundwater reserves are already under pressure as the global population explodes and crop production rises in lockstep.
- Extreme weather events such as drought and record rainfall — have both made worse by our heating planet — could have another long-lasting impact on how quickly reserves replenish.
- Only half of all groundwater supplies are likely to fully replenish or re-balance within the next 100 years — potentially leading to shortages in drier areas.
- The process through which rainwater is filtered through bedrock and accumulated underground can take centuries and varies greatly by region.
- As climate change delivers longer droughts and bigger superstorms, the extremes of rainfall become more pronounced, impacting groundwater reserves for generations to come.
Situation of groundwater in India:
Today, India is the largest user of the groundwater in the world with almost 90% being used for drinking water and almost 60-70% for irrigation. Current statistics also show that nearly 50% of urban water supply comes from groundwater. India is on the threshold of a very serious groundwater crisis, which needs mitigation both in the fields and at the policy corridors of the country.
Need of the hour:
There is a need to modernise the regulatory framework for accessing groundwater soon after massive expansion in mechanical pumping led to the realisation that recharge could not keep pace with use.
Sources: the hindu.