Dynamic Groundwater Resources of India 2022: Groundwater report waters down aquifer-level data, say experts

Source: The post is based on the article “Groundwater report waters down aquifer-level data, say experts” published in Business Standard on 22nd November 2022.

What is the News?

Union Minister of Jal Shakti has released the Dynamic Groundwater Resources of India 2022.

What are the key findings of the report?
Dynamic Groundwater Resources of India 2022
Source: Business Standard

Groundwater: The total annual groundwater recharge for the country this year has increased by 1.29 billion cubic meters(bcm), in contrast with the last assessment conducted in 2020. 

– The total annual extractable groundwater resources have also increased by 0.56 bcm.

– However, the annual groundwater extraction for irrigation, domestic and industrial uses has decreased by 5.76 bcm during this period.

Major consumer of Groundwater resources: The agriculture sector is the predominant consumer of groundwater resources.

– About 87% of the total annual groundwater extraction is for irrigation use. Only 30.69 bcm is for domestic and industrial consumption which is about 13% of the total extraction.

Of the total 7,089 assessment units in the country, a) 1,006 units or 14% have been categorized as over-exploited, b) 260 units or 4% as critical, c) 885 units or 12% as semi-critical and d) 4,780 units or 67% as safe.

State-wise Groundwater Extraction: The overall stage of groundwater extraction in the country is 60.08%.

– The stage of groundwater extraction is very high in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu where it is more than 100%.

– In the states of Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and UTs of Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry, the stage of groundwater extraction is between 60-100%.

– In the rest of the states, the stage of groundwater extraction is below 60 %.

Impact of rock formations: The type of rock formations and their storage and transmission characteristics have a significant influence on groundwater recharge. 

– Porous formations such as the alluvial formations in the Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra basin generally have high specific yields and are good repositories of groundwater. 

– Groundwater occurrence in the fissured formations occupying nearly two-thirds of the geographical area of the country, on the other hand, it is mostly limited to the weathered, jointed and fractured portions of the rocks.

What are the issues with this Groundwater Report?

According to experts, the groundwater data showing an increase in recharge and a decrease in extraction may not be offering an accurate representation. This is because the assessment units are too large in size and too few in number to present a micro-level picture.

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