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Water Sources
Water Reservoirs


Ground Water in India

March 10, 2011
Ground Water Data

An analysis of ground water level data collected from 7351 wells - located in different States/UTs of the country - monitored by Central Ground Water Board(CGWB) during the period May, 2001- May, 2010 has indicated that about 53% of the observation wells have registered decline. During the same period, 79% of the 89 observation wells located in seven districts of the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh registered decline in ground water level. State wise details of water level fluctuations are given in Annexure I and district-wise details of water level fluctuations of Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh are given in Annexure II. Ground water levels in various parts of the country have declined mainly due to increasing withdrawal of ground water for agriculture, industrial and domestic purposes, recurring drought in some parts of the country, rapid pace of urbanization, etc.

March 10, 2011
Water availability
The water availability of the country has been assessed as 1869 BCM. Due to topographical constraints and hydrological features utilizable water has been estimated to be about 1123 BCM comprising 690 BCM of surface water and 433 BCM of replenishable ground water. The availability of water is highly uneven both in space and time. Rainfall is mostly confined to only about three to four months in a year and varies from 100 mm in the western parts of Rajasthan to over 10000 mm at Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. The gap in the availability and demand for water due to temporal and spatial variations are addressed through water resources projects for conservation of water and through diversion projects which are undertaken by respective State Governments. Storage capacity of about 225 billion cubic meter (BCM) has been created in the country so far. The total estimated storage capacity of the various projects under construction is about 64 BCM. Further, the State Governments have identified various other schemes for investigation and planning and the estimated storage for such schemes is about 108 BCM.

Government of India provides technical and financial assistance to State Governments with a view to encouraging sustainable development and efficient management of water resources through various schemes and programmes.Central grant is provided to States under various schemes/programmes of Ministry of Water Resources namely “Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP)”, “Command Area Development and Water Management Programme (CAD&WM)”, and “Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies”. Ministry of Water Resources also encourages measures for sustainability of water resources particularly ground water resources. Demonstrative schemes for rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water have been taken up by Central Ground Water Board. The scheme for “Artificial Recharge of Ground Water through Dugwells” was also implemented during XI Plan.


March 10, 2011 : Artificial Recharge of Ground Water through Dugwells
A scheme for “Artificial Recharge of Ground Water through Dugwells” was launched by the Government in the year 2008 with a total outlay of Rs. 1798.71 crore. The scheme was to be implemented by 31.03.2010. The scheme covered seven States namely Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Rajasthan with the objective of recharging existing dugwells in areas underlain by hard rock using runoff rain water from agricultural fields.

Under the scheme, upto March, 2010, an expenditure of Rs. 283.457 crore including Rs. 263.58 crore as subsidy to beneficiaries, Rs. 17 crore to State for Information Education and Communication (IEC)/Capacity Building activities and Rs. 0.2417 crore for awareness and Rs. 2.6358 crore (1% of net subsidy amount) to NABARD as operating cost was incurred. State-wise achievement under the scheme is given in Annexure I and State-wise details of release of funds is given in Annexure II.

The Ministry of Water Resources had monitored overall progress of the scheme through National Level Programme Implementation Committee (NPMC). The participating States have also made suitable monitoring mechanism at State and district level in the form of State Level Steering Committees (SLSC) and District Level Implementation and Monitoring Committees (DLIMC). Since the scheme is over, steps are underway to get it evaluated.
Source including annexure

Ground Water Development
The total annual replenishable ground water resources of the Country have been reassessed as 433 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM) and the net annual ground water availability is estimated as 399 BCM. Existing gross ground water draft as on March 2004 for all uses is 231 BCM per year. The stage of ground water development is 58%. The development of ground water in different areas of the country has not been uniform. Highly intensive development of ground water in certain areas in the country has resulted in over exploitation leading to decline in the levels of ground water and sea water intrusion in coastal areas. There is a continuous growth in dark and overexploited areas in the country.

As per the latest assessment of ground water resources carried out jointly by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and the States, the assessment units are categorized as 'Over exploited'/'Critical' and 'Semi-critical' based on the stage of ground water development and the long-term water level declining trend during the past decade (1995-2004). Out of 5723 assessment units (Blocks/Mandals/Talukas) in the country, 839 units in various States have been categorized as 'Over exploited', i.e., the annual ground water extraction exceeds the annual replenishable resource. In addition 226 units.,11 'Critical', i.e., the stage of ground water development is above 90 per cent and within 100 per cent of annual replenishable resource. There are 550 semi-critical units, where/the stage of ground water development is between 70 per cent and 100 per cent. List of these areas is being circulated to the State Pollution Control Boards and Ministry of Environment and Forests which refer the new industries/projects falling in these areas to the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) for obtaining permission.

The CGWA has so far notified 43 over-exploited areas in the country for regulation of ground water development and management. For enforcement of the regulatory directions issued under Section 5 of Environment Protection Act, 1986, concerned Deputy Commissioners/District Magistrates have been authorized to take necessary action in case of violation of directives of CGWA in the notified areas. For more effective regulation of ground water development and management, Advisory Committees under the Chairmanship of District Collector/Deputy Commissioners with members drawn from various organizations have been constituted which will render advice in matters pertaining to regulation of ground water development and management.

The CGWA have also notified 65 over-exploited areas in various States, for registration of ground water abstraction structures, which showed a very steep decline in ground water levels and required action for regulation. The CGWA has issued directions to the Chief Secretaries of all States having over-exploited blocks to take all necessary measures to promote/adopt artificial recharge to ground water/rain water harvesting.

Report of the ground water resource estimation committee
Ground water has emerged as an important source to meet the water requirements of various sectors including the major consumers of water like irrigation, domestic and industries. The sustainable development of ground water resource requires precise quantitative assessment based on reasonably valid scientific principles.
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Ground Water Regime Monitoring
The primary objective of ground water regime monitoring is to record information on ground water levels and quality through representative sampling in space and time. Board regularly monitors ground water level through a network of ~ 15640 ground water observation wells located all over the country. Water level is measured four times in a year i.e in the month of January, April/May, August and November and ground water quality samples are collected once in a year i.e during April/May.

Ground Water Level Scenario in India during January- 2007
A perusal of depth to water level map of India for the January 2007 reveals the following:
In sub-Himalayan area, north of river Ganges, generally the depth to water level ranges from 2-5 meter below ground level (mbgl). Isolated pockets of shallow water level less than 2m has also been observed. In the eastern part of the country in the Brahmaputra valley water level generally ranges from 2-5 mbgl, except in isolated pockets where depth to water level is less than 2 mbgl. However, in Upper Assam, isolated pockets of deeper water level, 5-10 mbgl have been observed. In major parts of Indus basin, depth to water level generally ranges from 10-20 m.bgl. In the western part of the country covering states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, deeper water level is recorded in the range of 10-20 m.bgl. Depth to water level more than 40m has also been observed in Jodhpur, Churu, Jalore, Nagaur, Jhunjhunu and Jaipur districts of Rajasthan. In the West Coast, water level generally ranges from 5-10 m . Western part of Maharashtra recorded water level of less than 5m. In the east coast i.e. coastal Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, generally the water level ranges between 2-5m. However, isolated pockets of water level less than 2m have also been recorded. In eastern part of Ganga basin, water level in general ranges from 2-5 mbgl. Eastern most part of West Bengal recorded water level in the range of 5-10 mbgl. In Central India, water level generally varies between 2-10 mbgl. except in isolated pockets where water level is more than 10 mbgl. In the peninsular part of country, generally water level ranges between 2-10 mbgl except in pockets where water level ranges from 10-20m bgl. Isolated patches of water level in the range of 20-40m and more than 40m have also been observed in pockets.

A comparison with previous year’s water level for the same season
( January,2006) reveals that there is mixed (rise/fall) trend in water levels in the entire country. The fall in water level is observed mostly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Andhra Pradesh, there is general fall in water level in major part of the state. More than 25% of the monitoring wells show fall in water levels of more than 2m. Fall of 2-4m has been observed in various parts such as Khammam, Karimganj, Rangareddy, Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar districts of Telengana region, Prakasam and Nellore districts of Coastal region and in parts of Rayalseema districts. In Karnataka more than 2m fall in water levels is observed in parts of Raichur, Bellary, Chitradurga, Chikmaglore, Mandya, Kolar, Simoga, Haveri, Gadag, Kopal, Gulbarga, Mysore, Banglore urban and Tumkur districts. In Tamilnadu, the fall in water level in the range of 2-4 m bgl has been observed in 10% of the wells analyzed and noted in all the districts except in Kanyakumari, Nagapattanam, Nilgiri and Tuticorin districts.

Water level fluctuation between Jan’07 and average water level (1997-2006) indicates that more than 20% of the monitoring wells in the state of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Bihar, West Bengal, eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh and eastern Rajasthan show a decline in water level of more than 2m. In hilly terrain of West Bengal, Assam, parts of Meghalaya, Tripura and Jharkhand, there is rise in water levels by more than 2m. In Karnataka fall has been observed in major parts. In Andhra Pradesh, rise of water level more than 4m is noticed in Adilabad, Karimnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, and Mehbubnagar districts and in small isolated areas in West Godavari, Cuddapah and Chitoor districts. In the state of U.P, rise in water level upto 2m is observed in parts of Aligarh, Bahraich, Balrampur, Bijnour, Chandoli, Jhansi, Maharajganj districts. Fall of more than 4m is observed in Agra, Allahabad, Banda, Jhansi, Kanpur, Mathura, Pratapgarh, Moradabad and Varanasi districts.
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Hydrogeological set up of India
The behavior of ground water in the Indian sub-continent is highly complicated due to the occurrence of diversified geological formations with considerable lithological and chronological variations, complex tectonic framework, climatological dissimilarities and various hydrochemical conditions. Studies carried out over the years have revealed that aquifer groups in alluvial / soft rocks even transcend the surface basin boundaries. Broadly two groups of rock formations have been identified depending on characteristically different hydraulics of ground water, viz. Porous formations and Fissured formations.

1.1 Porous Formations
Porous formations have been further subdivided into Unconsolidated and Semi – consolidated formations.

1.1.1 Unconsolidated Formations
The areas covered by alluvial sediments of river basins, coastal and deltaic tracts constitute the unconsolidated formations. These are by far the most significant ground water reservoirs for large scale and extensive development. The hydrogeological environment and ground water regime conditions in the Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra basin indicate the existence of potential aquifers having enormous fresh ground water resources. Bestowed with high incidence of rainfall and covered by a thick pile of porous sediments, these ground water reservoirs get replenished every year and are being used heavily. In these areas, in addition to the annual replenishable ground water resources available in the zone of Water Level Fluctuation ( dynamic ground water resource), there exists a huge ground water reserve in the deeper passive recharge zone below the zone of fluctuation as well as in the deeper confined aquifers which is nearly unexplored. Although the mode of development of ground water is primarily through dug wells, dug cum borewell and cavity wells, thousands of tube wells have been constructed during last few decades.

1.1.2 Semi-Consolidated Formations
The semi-consolidated formations normally occur in narrow valleys or structurally faulted basins. The Gondwanas, Lathis, Tipams, Cuddalore sandstones and their equivalents are the most extensive productive aquifers. Under favourable situations, these formations give rise to free flowing wells. In select tracts of northeastern India, these water-bearing formations are quite productive. The Upper Gondwanas, which are generally arenaceous, constitute prolific aquifers.

1.2 Fissured Formations (Consolidated Formations)
The consolidated formations occupy almost two-third of the country. The consolidated formations, except vesicular volcanic rocks, have negligible primary porosity. From the hydrogeological point of view, fissured rocks are broadly classified into four types viz. Igneous and metamorphic rocks excluding volcanic and carbonate rocks, Volcanic rocks, Consolidated sedimentary rocks and Carbonate rocks.

1.2.1 Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks Excluding Volcanic and Carbonate Rocks
The most common rock types are granites, gneisses, charnockites, khondalites, quartzites, schists and associated phyllites, slates, etc. These rocks possess negligible primary porosity but develops secondary porosity and permeability due to fracturing and weathering. Ground water yield also depends on rock type and possibly on the grade of metamorphism.

1.2.2 Volcanic Rocks
The predominant types of the volcanic rocks are the basaltic lava flows of Deccan Plateau. The contrasting water bearing properties of different flow units controls ground water occurrence in Deccan Traps. The Deccan Traps have usually poor to moderate permeabilities depending on the presence of primary and secondary porespaces.

1.2.3 Consolidated Sedimentary Rocks excluding Carbonate rocks
Consolidated sedimentary rocks occur in Cuddapahs, Vindhyans and their equivalents. The formations consist of conglomerates, sandstones, shales, slates and quartzites. The presence of bedding planes, joints, contact zones and fractures control the ground water occurrence, movement and yield potential.

1.2.4 Carbonate Rocks
Limestones in the Cuddapah, Vindhyan and Bijawar group of rocks are the important carbonate rocks other than the marbles and dolomites. In carbonate rocks, the circulation of water creates solution cavities, thereby increasing the permeability of the aquifers. The solution activity leads to widely contrasting permeabilities within short distances.

1.3 Hydrogeological Units and their Potentials in India:
The distribution of hydrogeological units in the country is given in Table I.
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Ground Water Resources Of The Country
The ground water resources of the country have been estimated for freshwater based on the guidelines and recommendations of the GEC-97.The total Annual Replenishable ground water resources of the country have been estimated as 433 billion cubic meter (BCM). Keeping 34 BCM for natural discharge, the net annual ground water availability for the entire country is 399 BCM. The Annual ground water draft is 231 BCM out of which 213 BCM is for irrigation use and 18 BCM is for domestic & industrial use.
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Ground Water Management Studies
Ground Water Resources occur in dynamic state and hence subjected to periodic changes. Ground water Management Studies (GWMS) are essential to update the scenario of ground water occurrence, availability and utilization in terms of quality and quantity with reference to the previous studies. The objectives of the GWMS are as follows:

1. To depict the ground water regime in terms of quantity and quality as on the date.

2. Ascertaining the factors influencing the ground water scenario.

3. Identification of problems and issues pertaining to ground water and provide suitable object oriented management strategy for implementation.

4. To update the existing database on ground water regime.

5. To demarcate the ground water worthy areas.

6. To recommend suitable follow up action/ remedial measures/ administrative and technical measures for the specific problems.

Priority is given to “Over-Exploited” and critical areas , hard rock area, coastal area, tribal & drought prone area, naturally contaminated area, urban area, water logged area etc.

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Ground Water Exploration
Ground water exploration aided by drilling is one of the major activities of the Board with an objective to discover aquifers in different hydrogeological conditions and determination of hydraulic parameters. Large-scale sub-surface exploration programme for ground water was initiated during 1954. In the initial years, exploratory drilling activities were confined to alluvial tracts in major river basins and sub mountainous bouldary tracts of Himalayan foothills. In mid eighties, CGWB added 26 new DTH drilling rigs in its fleet with which the exploratory drilling in hard rock regions gained momentum. The major thrust of exploratory drilling programme in nineties was in areas underlain by hard rock. Another important development in first half of nineties was introduction of open hole drilling technology in India. CGWB acquired seven percussion drilling rigs for exploratory drilling in bouldary/ semi-consolidated formations in Himalyan foothills from Jammu & Kashmir in north west to Arunachal Pradesh in north east. These exploration programmes formed the background of scientific evaluation of the water bearing properties of various rock formations.

More than 27,500 wells have been drilled by Central Ground Water Board throughout the country. High yielding wells were drilled under ground water exploration programme in water deficient areas in the country, including tribal and drought prone areas. Most of these high yielding wells have been handed over to the respective State Governments for public water supply. Board had also come forward in disaster mitigation activities during Latur earthquake during 1993, Bhuj earthquake during 2001, Super cyclone in Orissa during 2000 and Tsunami hit coastal belt of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and Andaman & Nicobar Islands during 2004 by way of construction of tube wells for water supply. State wise status of Borewells Drilled by CGWB is given as under:-

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Click here to see the Table - II (State wise status of Borewell Drilled by CGWB)

Ground Water Augmentation Award and National Water Award

In pursuance of the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, Central Ground Water Board has been constituted as Authority under sub-section (3) of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 vide notification No. S.O. 38 (E) dated 14.1.97 and subsequent amendments for the purpose of regulation and control of ground water management and development in the country. The Authority is required to regulate indiscriminate boring and to preserve and protect ground water. The jurisdiction of the Authority shall be whole of India. The Authority shall function under the Administrative control of the GOI in the Ministry of Water Resources with its Headquarters at Delhi.

As a regulatory measure, some of the important steps taken/being taken by CGWA are given below :-
Regulating ground water development in 43 over exploited areas.
Notified 108 over-exploited for purpose of Control on sinking of tubewells which include 43 areas notified for regulation of ground water development and management and 65 areas for registration of ground water abstraction structures.
Issued instructions to Chief Secretaries of States to take measures to promote/ adopt recharge to ground water/ rain water harvesting in over-exploited areas.
Organize Mass awareness campaigns on various aspects of the ground water management, protection and regulation throughout the year.
The guidelines of CGWA for consideration of grant of clearances have been uploaded in the website at
CGWA is considering to exempt industries to use small quantity of water for domestic, drinking and other related purposes in non-notified areas.
The projects of mining not intersecting water table do not require CGWA permission.
CGWA will review the status of notified areas as per the prevailing guidelines and de-notify the areas if required.
CGWA is in process of de-notifying the overexploited blocks for registration of ground water abstraction structures.
The process of registration of drilling agencies by CGWA has been discontinued forthwith.
A committee constituted by CGWA will formulate the policy and guidelines in respect of industries, mines and infrastructure development projects.
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National Congress on Ground Water
National Congress on Ground Water 2007

The Government has constituted Advisory Council for Artificial Recharge of Ground Water in April, 2006 to popularize the concept of Artificial Recharge among all stake holders. As per recommendation made by the Advisory Council in its first meeting, the first Ground Water Congress was organized by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the auspices of Ministry of Water Resources at New Delhi on 11th September 2007 with a view to provide a platform for interaction among scientists, engineers, planners, policy makers and representatives of industries/NGOs/VOs and Stakeholders on various aspects of ground water in order to evolve a suitable policy framework on emergent ground water related issues., Hon'ble Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Congress. Around 1000 eminent Scientists, farmers, students, representatives of NGO’s and Other organizations attended the Ground Water Congress. Her Excellency, the President of India gave away the first Ground Water Awards for the year 2007 during the valedictory session of the Congress.

Outcome and recommendation of National Congress are below:-
· Emphasized the role of education, awareness and voluntary participation of stakeholders in ground water conservation.

· Stressed the need for equitable, efficient and sustainable water use policy.

· Expressed urgency for complete synergy in the activities of all stakeholders in the sustained development of ground water resources.

· Outlined new techniques for encouraging more income per drop of water.

· Resolved to prevent over-exploitation and pollution of ground water.

· Highlighted the role of Panchayats in ground water management.

· Stressed upon the adoption of integrated approach for water conservation; for improving water security system and increasing agricultural production.

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Advisory Council on Artificial Recharge of Ground Water
Manual & Guide on Artificial Recharge to Ground Water
Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has prepared a Manual and subsequently a Guide on Artificial Recharge to Ground Water which provides guidelines on investigation techniques for selection of sites, planning & design of artificial recharge structures, economic evaluation & monitoring of recharge facility. It is of immense use to States/ UTs. in planning and implementation of recharge schemes for augmentation of ground water in various parts of the country. The manual has recently been updated incorporating the latest advances in the field of rain water harvesting and artificial recharge. The brief of the manual is available at CGWB website at A copy of manual may be obtained from CGWB office at A2, W3, Curzon Road Barracks, K. G. Marg, New Delhi. Tele No. 23385620

Categorization of Blocks/ Mandals/ Talukas in the Country
Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) carries out Ground Water Resource Estimation in consultation with State Governments at Blocks /Mandals/Talukas level. As per the latest assessment of ground water resources carried out in 2004 jointly by the CGWB and the States, out of 5723 assessment units (Blocks/Mandals/Talukas), 839 units are ‘over-exploited’ (where stage of ground water exploitation is more than 100% with significant decline in long term trend of ground water level in either pre-monsoon or post-monsoon or both), 226 units are ‘critical’ (where ground water exploitation is between 90% and 100% with significant decline in long term trend of water level in both pre-monsoon and post-monsoon periods). Out of 839 units ‘over-exploited’ areas in the country most of them are in the State of Andhra Pradesh (219), Haryana (55), Karnataka (65), Punjab (103), Rajasthan (140) and Tamil Nadu (142).

The scientific data generated through ground water surveys and exploration have been provided to the State Governments, which help them in planning of ground water resource use and management.
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Ground Water Quality Scenario
Monitoring of ground water quality is an effort to obtain information on chemical quality through representative sampling in different hydrogeological units. The chemical quality is being monitored by Central Ground Water Board once in a year through a network of about 15000 observation wells located all over the country, in regular monitoring programme. Apart from these observation wells the quality is also monitored through various studies like ground water management studies, ground water exploration etc. The ground water monitoring activity is aimed at generating background data of different chemicals constituents in Ground water on a regional scale.

Indian Sub- Continent is endowed with diverse geological formations from oldest Achaeans to Recent alluviums and characterized by varying climatic conditions in different parts of the country. The natural chemical content of ground water is influenced by depth of the soils and sub-surface geological formations through which ground water remains in contact. In general, greater part of the country, ground water is of good quality and suitable for drinking, agricultural or industrial purposes. Ground water in shallow aquifers is generally suitable for use for different purposes and is mainly of Calcium Bicarbonate and Mixed type. However, other types of water are also available including Sodium-Chloride water. The quality in deeper aquifers also varies from place to place and is generally found suitable for common uses. There is salinity problem in the coastal tracts and high incidence of fluoride, Arsenic, Iron & heavy metals etc in isolated pockets have also been reported. The distributions of various constituents present in ground water in different parts of the country have been discussed in following paragraphs.

The main ground water quality problems in India are as follows.

Salinity in ground water can be of broadly categorised into two types, i.e Inland Salinity and Coastal salinity

Inland Salinity
Inland salinity in ground water is prevalent mainly in the arid and semi arid regions of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There are several places in Rajasthan and southern Haryana where EC values of ground water is greater than 10000 mS /cm at 25o C making water non-potable. In some areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat, ground water salinity is so high that the well water is directly used for salt manufacturing by solar evaporation.

Inland salinity is also caused due to practice of surface water irrigation without consideration of ground water status. The gradual rise of ground water levels with time has resulted in water logging and heavy evaporation in semi arid regions lead to salinity problem in command areas.

Coastal Salinity
The Indian subcontinent has a dynamic coast line of about 7500 km length. It stretches from Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to Konkan and Malabar coast to Kanyakumari in the south to northwards along the Coromandal coast to Sunderbans in West Bengal .The western coast is charactrised by wide continental shelf and is marked by backwaters and mud flats while the eastern coast has a narrow continental shelf and is characterized by deltaic and estuarine land forms. Ground water in coastal areas occurs under unconfined to confined conditions in a wide range of unconsolidated and consolidated formations.

Normally, saline water bodies owe their origin to entrapped sea water (connate water), sea water ingress, leachates from navigation canals constructed along the coast, leachates from salt pans etc. In general, the following situations are encountered in coastal areas

i. Saline water overlying fresh water aquifer
ii. Fresh water overlying saline water
iii. Alternating sequence of fresh water and saline water aquifers

In India, salinity problems have been observed in a number of places in most of the coastal states of the country. Problem of salinity ingress has been conspicuously noticed in Minjur area of Tamil Nadu and Mangrol – Chorwad- Porbander belt along the Saurashtra coast.

85 % of rural population of the country uses ground water for drinking and domestic purposes. High concentration of fluoride in ground water beyond the permissible limit of 1.5 mg/l poses the health problem. Nearly The occurrences of fluoride beyond permissible limit (> 1.5 mg /litre) has been observed based on the chemical analysis of water samples collected from the groundwater observation wells . The name of the districts having spot values of >1.5 mg/l are give in following table.

State wise details of distribution of flouride in Ground Water above permissible limit

The occurrence of Arsenic in ground water was first reported in 1980 in West Bengal in India. In West Bengal, 79 blocks in 8 districts have Arsenic beyond the permissible limit of 0.05 mg/L.The most affected districts are on the eastern side of Bhagirathi river in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas and western side of the districts of Howrah, Hugli and Bardhman. The occurrence of Arsenic in ground water is mainly in the intermediate aquifers upto the depth of 100m. The deeper aquifers are free from Arsenic contamination. Apart from West Bengal, Arsenic contamination in ground water has been found in the states of Bihar, Chhatisgarh and Uttar Pradesh &Assam. Arsenic in ground water has been reported in 15 districts In Bihar, 9 districts in U.P and one district each in Chhatisgarh & Assam states. The occurrence of Arsenic in the states of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh is in Alluvium formation but in the state of Chhatisgarh, it is in the volcanic rocks exclusively confined to N-S trending Dongargarh-Kotri ancient rift zone. It has also been reported in Dhemaji district of Assam. The following table shows the occurrence of Arsenic in ground water in some state of India.

Occurrence of High Arsenic in Ground Water of Some States of India
In West Bengal & Bihar states, Arsenic contamination affected blocks are based on the findings of Task Force/ State Government. In case of Uttar Pradesh, Assam & Chhattisgarh States Arsenic contamination is identified as point source based on findings of Central Ground Water Board and State Ground Water Departments.

High concentration of Iron (>1.0 mg/l) in ground water has been observed in more than 1.1 lakh habitations in the country. Ground water contaminated by iron has been reported from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, J& K, Jharkhand Karnataka Kerala. Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal & UT of Andaman & Nicobar.

Nitrate is a very common constituent in the ground water, especially in shallow aquifers. The source is mainly from anthropogenic activities. High concentration of Nitrate in water beyond the permissible limit of 45 mg/l causes health problems. High Nitrate concentration in ground water in India has been found in almost all hydrogeological formations.
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The importance of groundwater for the existence of human society cannot be overemphasized. Groundwater is the major source of drinking water in both urban and rural India. Besides, it is an important source of water for the agricultural and the industrial sector. Water utilization projections for 2000 put the groundwater usage at about 60%. Being an important and integral part of the hydrological cycle, its availability depends on the rainfall and recharge conditions. Till recently it had been considered a dependable source of uncontaminated water.

The demand for water has increased over the years and this has led to water scarcity in many parts of the world. The situation is aggravated by the problem of water pollution or contamination. India is heading towards a freshwater crisis mainly due to improper management of water resources and environmental degradation, which has lead to a lack of access to safe water supply to millions of people. This freshwater crisis is already evident in many parts of India, varying in scale and intensity depending mainly on the time of the year.

Groundwater crisis is not the result of natural factors; it has been caused by human actions. During the past two decades, the water level in several parts of the country has been falling rapidly due to an increase in extraction. The number of wells drilled for irrigation of both food and cash crops have rapidly and indiscriminately increased. India's rapidly rising population and changing lifestyles has also increased the domestic need for water. The water requirement for the industry also shows an overall increase. Intense competition among users — agriculture, industry, and domestic sectors — is driving the groundwater table lower. The quality of groundwater is getting severely affected because of the widespread pollution of surface water. Besides, discharge of untreated waste water through bores and leachate from unscientific disposal of solid wastes also contaminates groundwater, thereby reducing the quality of fresh water resources.

As far as the quality of groundwater is concerned, many states in the country have been identified as endemic to fluorosis due to abundance in naturally occurring fluoride-bearing minerals. These are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Bihar, and Delhi. Nearly half million people in India suffer from ailments due to excess of fluoride in drinking water. In some districts of Assam and Orissa, groundwater has high iron content. About 31% of the total area of Rajasthan comes under saline groundwater. Groundwater is saline in almost all of the Bhakra Canal in Punjab and the lift canal system in south-western Haryana. Similarly high levels of arsenic in groundwater have been reported in the shallow aquifers in some districts of West Bengal. Certain places in Haryana, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh were also found to have dangerously high levels of mercury.

Causes of groundwater depletion and contamination
Groundwater is an integral part of the environment, and hence cannot be looked upon in isolation. There has been a lack of adequate attention to water conservation, efficiency in water use, water re-use, groundwater recharge, and ecosystem sustainability. An uncontrolled use of the borewell technology has led to the extraction of groundwater at such a high rate that often recharge is not sufficient. The causes of low water availability in many regions are also directly linked to the reducing forest cover and soil degradation.

Pollution of groundwater resources has become a major problem today. The pollution of air, water, and land has an affect on the pollution and contamination of groundwater. The solid, liquid, and the gaseous waste that is generated, if not treated properly, results in pollution of the environment; this affects groundwater too due to the hydraulic connectivity in the hydrological cycle. For example, when the air is polluted, rainfall will settle many pollutants on the ground, which can then seep into and contaminate the groundwater resources. Water extraction without proper recharge and leaching of pollutants from pesticides and fertilizers into the aquifers has polluted groundwater supplies. In addition, leachates from agriculture, industrial waste, and the municipal solid waste have also polluted surface- and ground-water. Some 45 million people the world over are affected by water pollution marked by excess fluoride, arsenic, iron, or the ingress of salt water.

What can and should be done
It is important to realize that groundwater is not a resource that could be utilized unmindfully simply because it is available in abundant quantities. Problems and issues such as water logging, salinity, agricultural toxins, and industrial effluents, all need to be properly looked into.

Other than legislation and checks to conserve and improve the quality of groundwater, society itself plays a very important role. During the last decade there has been a rising awareness among the common people on the need for conservation and development of groundwater. Water use has to be integrated effectively with water regeneration, as was done in many traditional technologies.

Renovation of forest tanks in drought-prone regions will have a significant impact on wildlife and forest cover. Similarly, in some urban cities there is a need to regenerate groundwater aquifers because of the high degree of dependence on them for drinking water. Rainwater harvesting schemes have been taken up in many cities and even made compulsory in some of them. Temple tanks need to be renovated and urban wetlands protected. All these will contribute to a rise in the groundwater level and a reduction of salt water ingress. Community awareness and management of freshwater resources should be enhanced. The government should implement effective groundwater legislation and regulations through self-regulation by communities and local institutions. External support agencies should support freshwater resource management. Environmental restoration should be promoted along with household water security.

No single action whether community based, legislation, traditional water harvesting systems, or reliance on market forces will in itself alleviate the crisis in India. The effective answer to the freshwater crisis is to integrate conservation and development activities – from water extraction to water management – at the local level; making communities aware and involving them fully is therefore critical for success. All this will ultimately pave the way for combining conservation of the environment with the basic needs of people.

In India, the Water (Prevention and Control) Act was passed by the Parliament in 1974, and by 1990 all the states adopted the act. In 1986, the Environment Protection Act was passed by the Parliament. Under both these acts, the states and the central government developed environmental norms for air emissions and waste water discharge for different types of sources.
Link :

Advisory Council on Artificial Recharge of Ground Water
Manual & Guide on Artificial Recharge to Ground Water

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has prepared a Manual and subsequently a Guide on Artificial Recharge to Ground Water which provides guidelines on investigation techniques for selection of sites, planning & design of artificial recharge structures, economic evaluation & monitoring of recharge facility. It is of immense use to States/ UTs. in planning and implementation of recharge schemes for augmentation of ground water in various parts of the country. The manual has recently been updated incorporating the latest advances in the field of rain water harvesting and artificial recharge. The brief of the manual is available at CGWB website at A copy of manual may be obtained from CGWB office at A2, W3, Curzon Road Barracks, K. G. Marg, New Delhi. Tele No. 23385620


NGOs, SHGs, Activists ..get free visibility will give free coverage to NGOs, SHGs and CBOs working on all issues. This coverage will be issue wise and district wise (e.g. water in panipat district or agriculture in nuapada district or tribals in thane district). From January 2012 to December 2012, our plan is to cover about 3000 NGOs working across districts of India. To share your programmes, send a mail to

NGOs : Share donation and volunteering opportunities enters third phase of its lifecycle and plans to celebrate the 11 years by offering free space to NGOs to share district wise donation and volunteering opportunities. Send your donation opportunities to ; Each NGO must commit the time schedule of giving the donor tax benefit certificate, and other committments like photographs ...If we receive donor complaints, and if the NGO is unable to address the complaints satisfactorily, the NGOs will be withdrawn from the space.

Global Coverage covers data related to water availability for almost 150 countries. It also shares seminars / conferences / summits taking place across the world, as well as information related to water related awards. From January 2012, will start taking interviews of countrywise experts on water.