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Development and Management of Water Resources

Several reports by international organizations such as World Bank, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Food & Agriculture Organization(FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) etc. have mentioned about ground water related issues and challenges in the Country, and suggested a number of measures like an increase in water tariffs in urban settings; reducing crop water requirements as well as non-beneficial evapo-transpiration from fields in agricultural settings; conjunctive use of surface and ground water in specific areas; ground water recharge enhancement to manage over-exploitation of ground water etc. which, inter-alia, include measures to be taken for sustainable development and management of ground water in the Country.

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has prepared a conceptual document entitled Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India during the year 2013, which envisages construction of different types of Artificial Recharge and Rainwater Harvesting structures in the Country in an area of 9,41,541 square km by harnessing surplus monsoon runoff to augment ground water resources. Further, the National Water Policy (2012), which has been forwarded to all State Governments/UTs and concerned Ministries/Departments of Central Government for appropriate action, also highlights the need for augmenting the availability of water through direct use of rainfall. Initiatives for water conservation and water recharge are being undertaken by the respective State Governments which, inter-alia, include conservation of water resources in the reservoirs and traditional water bodies, rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge of ground water. Central Government provides technical and financial assistance to the State Governments through various schemes and programmes to facilitate this. A National Water Mission, has also been set up to inter-alia, promote conservation of water resources.

Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has been constituted under Section 3(3) of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate indiscriminate ground water abstraction in the Country. Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has notified 162 Blocks/Talukas/Areas for regulation of ground water development in the Country, wherein, permission to construct new bore-wells is not granted, except for drinking and domestic purpose. In non-notified areas, CGWA accords No Objection Certificate (NOC) for withdrawal of ground water for new and expansion of industrial/infrastructure/mining projects based on guidelines/ criteria fixed for evaluation of such projects. Regulations are being enforced through the concerned Deputy Commissioners/ District Collectors and in cases of reported violations/ shortcomings in implementation of directives of Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), the concerned Deputy Commissioners/ District Collectors have been authorized to take necessary action as per the provisions of Section 15 to 21 of The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Besides, a Model Bill has been circulated to all the States/UTs to enable them to enact ground water legislation for its regulation and development.

This information was given by Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.



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