- The Union Water Ministry is finalising an updated estimate on the state of groundwater reserves in India.
- Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) jointly with State Ground Water Departments carries out periodic assessment of ground water resources of the entire country. The last assessment was done in 2013.
- The groundwater resources of India are assessed Groundwater Estimation Methodology, 1997. The methodology was recommended by the Ground Water Estimation Committee of 1997.
- The assessment brings out the level of stress on the available groundwater resources in India. It forms the basis for categorization of different administrative units in the country as Safe, Semi-Critical, Critical, Over Exploited categories.
- The assessment is highly significant as it forms the basis for planning ground water management interventions like artificial recharge, regulation of ground water use etc.
- In 2013, the CGWB assessed 6,584 units across the country and found 4,520 to be “safe,” 681 to be “semi-critical” 253 to be “critical” and 1,034 to be “overexploited.” About 96 blocks were “saline”.
- Further, a 2015 CGWB report shows that annual water availability of India in terms of natural runoff (flow) in rivers is about 1,869 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM)/year. However, the usable water resources of the country is about 1,123 BCM/year. This is due to geographical limitation and water being unequally distributed in various river basins, making it difficult to extract all the available water.
- Out of the 1,123 BCM/year, the shares of surface water and groundwater are 690 BCM/year and 433 BCM/year respectively. The net annual ground water availability for the entire country is 398 BCM after excluding 35 BCM for natural discharge. The overall contribution of rainfall to the country’s annual ground water resource is 68%.
- The national per capita annual availability of water has reduced by 15% from 2001 to 2011 – a reduction from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metres in 2011
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