An expert committee report of the Ministry of
Environment, Forest and Climate Change has suggested measures to regulate the
overuse of water in agriculture.
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
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.
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).
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.
The report also stressed that areas, where
groundwater is overexploited, should be declared as notified areas for
protection and conservation of groundwater.
India is the world’s largest groundwater
consumer. It uses around 230 cubic kilometres of groundwater annually
Of the total available groundwater (253 billion
cubic metres), around 90% is used in agricultural irrigation.