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Water issue in India: India to Try New Groundwater Recharge Methods


Water issue in India UPSC: Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Water crisis in India: Context

  • Recently, the central government has planned to recharge groundwater using treated water to alleviate water shortages in Tamil Nadu.


Water issue in India: Key points

  • If the pilot proves to be successful, the method is likely to be replicated in other parts of the country as well.
  • Lack of fresh water to recharge groundwater is a huge issue in Tamil Nadu where saline sea water has seeped into the soil, making it infertile.
  • The artificial recharge project is being implemented in collaboration with the Netherlands.


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Issue of water crisis in India

  • NITI Aayog reported 30% Himalayan springs already dried up due to receding glaciers.
  • The hydro-electricity projects in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi have turned upper Ganga into ecological deserts.
  • Uranium contamination in groundwater due to mining in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Proposed neutrino observatory in Tamil Nadu could lead to leaching of chemicals in groundwater.
  • Increasing incidence of water theft across the country.
  • NITI Aayog’s composite water management index reported
    • 600 million people faces high to extreme water stress.
    • persistent water crises will lead to 6% loss in the country’s GDP by 2030.
    • 75% of households do not have access to drinking water on premises.
    • 70% households lack piped water.


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Measures taken to manage the groundwater resources

  • Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA): Launched in 2019 to improve water availability including ground water conditions in the water stressed blocks of 256 districts in India.
  • Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” (JSA:CTR): It has been launched with the theme “Catch the Rain – Where it Falls When it Falls” to cover all the blocks of all districts (rural as well as urban areas) across the country.
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana: It is a Rs.6,000 crore Central Sector Scheme, for sustainable management of ground water resources with community participation.
  • Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Groundwater – 2020: It is a macro level plan prepared by the Central Ground Water Board. The plan envisages construction of about 1.42 crore rain water harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the country.
  • National Aquifer Mapping and Management program (NAQUIM): It envisages mapping of aquifers, their characterization and development of Aquifer Management Plans to facilitate sustainable management of groundwater resources in the country.
  • Other schemes: Artificial groundwater recharge/water harvesting works is also being supported MGNREGA and Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana – Watershed Development component (PMKSY-WDC), ‘Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI) and Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies schemes’ a component of PMKSY.


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