Environment ministry’s 50-year plan to tackle water crisis

  1. An expert committee report of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has suggested measures to regulate the overuse of water in agriculture.
  2. The committee has recommended registering and creation of inventories of borewells across India. It has suggested recording details such as location and the withdrawal capacity, along with the size of the pipe.
  3. It has also suggested pooling of water for a common groundwater resource, by farmers. Further, it has recommended making mandatory the use of treated sewage for agriculture in areas near urban centres or those having close proximity to sewage treatment plants.
  4. The committee recommended that the environment ministry should not consider environmental clearances for new or expansion projects in areas where groundwater condition is already overexploited, critical or semi-critical (OCS).
  5. The committee also suggested that the National Water Board should meet at regular intervals, at least once a year, and address the groundwater needs of the country as a priority.
  6. The report also stressed that areas, where groundwater is overexploited, should be declared as notified areas for protection and conservation of groundwater.
  7. India is the world’s largest groundwater consumer. It uses around 230 cubic kilometres of groundwater annually
  8. Of the total available groundwater (253 billion cubic metres), around 90% is used in agricultural irrigation.