Data: While Overall Ground Water Extraction Decreases Slightly, Situation in Some States is Dire‘Water is the driving force of all nature’, ...Data: While Overall Ground Water Extraction Decreases Slightly, Situation in Some States is Dire
‘Water is the driving force of all nature’, said Leonardo Da Vinci. In fact, we are all bodies of water. More than 60% of our bodies are made up of water. Water is the key to the survival of human life.
As the population of the world continues to explode, and as the requirement for a food system grows, the demand for water is expected to outstrip the supply. This puts immense pressure on the existing water resources in the world. Charles Fishman, in his book, ‘The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water’ notes that, ‘we don’t have a good language for talking about water, we don’t have a politics of water, or an economics of water.” This point holds true because water is often viewed as free, and a gift of nature. So, there is misuse, wastage, and defiling around it, until we reach a point of no return.
Even among the major sources of water, groundwater is less talked about, perhaps because of its invisibility to the naked eye. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) describes groundwater as the ‘invisible ingredient in our food’. In fact, the theme for World Water Day 2022 is ‘Groundwater: Making the invisible visible’.
In this context, we look at the assessment of groundwater resources in India. The latest edition of the ‘National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India, 2022’ had been released recently. This story looks at what it entails about the state of groundwater resources in India.
Assessment of Ground Water Resources in India
It is colloquially said that ‘what gets out of sight, gets out of mind’. The same is the case with groundwater, which is invisible. Nearly half of the freshwater supplies for the world are catered by Groundwater, yet the mismanagement of groundwater is rarely spoken about. For a country that is heavily dependent on agriculture like India, groundwater mismanagement is a concern. In certain regions of India, groundwater is being extracted at a rate higher than its annual replenishment due to the country’s growing water needs. A realistic and accurate evaluation of these resources aids in developing plans for the scientific management of groundwater resources.
The Ground Water Resource Assessment is jointly carried out by the Central Water Board and respective State/UT water departments. The outcomes of the assessments are principally summarised in terms of resource availability, utilisation, and classification of assessment units.
Earlier, such joint exercises were undertaken in 1980, 1995, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017, and 2020. However, prior to the year 2017, assessments were conducted using the Ground Water Estimation Committee (GEC) 97 Methodology. Starting in 2017, assessments are based on the standards and criteria of the GEC 2015 Methodology. One must exercise caution in comparing the trends as there is a change in the assessment methodology.