India is entirely dependent on groundwater and is pumping out the lion’s share of the global volume.
- Around 70 percent of food production is done with the help of irrigation wells.
Important facts on Groundwater conservation in India
- India constitutes 16 per cent of the world’s population, but the country has only four per cent of the world’s freshwater resources.
- With the changing weather patterns and recurring droughts, India is water stressed.
- 256 of 700 districts have reported ‘critical’ or ‘over-exploited’ groundwater levels.
- Agricultural sector: India’s water supply but agriculture which consumes over 85 percent of water.
- With only 40 per cent assured irrigation, farmers depend heavily either on rains or on groundwater for their needs.
- NITI Aayog estimates that 21 major cities, including Delhi, would run out of groundwater by 2030.
- 6% of economic GDP will be lost by 2050, while water demand will exceed the available supply by 2030.
NITI Aayog’s report on water scarcity
- A NITI Aayog report in 2018 stated bluntly that-
- 600 million people, or nearly half of India’s population, face extreme water stress.
- three-fourths of India’s rural households do not have piped, potable water and rely on sources that pose a serious health risk.
- India has become the world’s largest extractor of groundwater, accounting for 25 per cent of the total.
- 70 percent of water sources are contaminated and major rivers are dying because of pollution.
- Its conclusion: ‘India is suffering from its worst water crisis in its history.’
Important Government initiatives to conserve groundwater
Jal Jeevan Mission:
- Government launched the Jal Jeevan Mission in August 2019.
- The ambitious scheme aims to provide potable water through taps to the 191 million rural households by 2024, from the existing one out of six households that have tap water.
Jal Shakti Abhiyan
- Government of India launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan-I (JSA-I) in 256 water stressed districts of the country in two phases between July to November, 2019.
Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” (JSA:CTR)
- India launched the “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” (JSA:CTR) on 22nd March, 2021 (World Water Day).
- Theme- “Catch the Rain - Where it Falls When it Falls”
Atal Bhujal Yojana
- Atal Bhujal Yojana is a Central Sector Scheme.
- It focuses on community participation, demand side interventions and convergence of ongoing schemes for sustainable groundwater management.