Eight states record fall in ground water level

Eight states record fall in ground water level

Eight states record fall in ground water level

Eight states, including Karnataka, have seen an alarming fall in ground water levels, which are worse than the national average.

According to the latest survey conducted by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the Ministry of Water Resources, among the 30 states surveyed, the highest depletion was reported in Tamil Nadu with 76 per cent, followed by Punjab (72.86 per cent), Kerala (71.62 per cent) and Karnataka (69.09 per cent).

The other states where the situation is alarming are Meghalaya (66 per cent), Haryana (65.59 per cent), West Bengal (64.42 per cent) and Delhi (63.87 per cent).

The CGWB said ground water level monitoring data of pre-monsoon 2013, compared with decadal mean of pre-monsoon (2003-2012), indicate that out of the 10,121 wells analysed, 5,688 have shown decline. The national average depletion of ground water level is 56.20 per cent.

In Karnataka, of the total 783 wells analysed, only 242 have reported increase in water level while 541 have shown depletion. In Delhi, of the 119 wells analysed, water level in 43 were increasing while in 76 it was found depleting.

The board monitors ground water levels on regional basis four times a year through a network of 15,653 ground water monitoring wells. The ground water monitoring was started in 1970 by the CGWB for planning the ground water development and management programme.       

Earlier this week, Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat informed Parliament that over-exploitation of water for drinking, irrigation and various other purposes has led to its depletion in many parts of the country.

The minister also said total availability of ground water is  431 billion cubic metre (bcm). Withdrawal for irrigation is about 221.42 bcm, while the annual ground water withdrawal for industrial and domestic purposes is about 21.89 bcm.

In Karnataka, the total availability of ground water is 16.81 bcm while total withdrawal is 10 bcm per annum.

According to the assessment by the Central Water Commission, the average annual water availability in the country is 1869 bcm( both surface and ground water).

In a bid to prevent over-exploitation of ground water, the minister said the Central Scheme of Ground Water Management and Regulation envisages participatory management of ground water, involving the Panchayati Raj institutions, local communities, NGOs and other stakeholders, for ensuring sustainable management of ground water resources in the country.