Finding Groundwater

Featured Articles
December 4, 2019 The 2015­-2018 drought, the longest, but less severe of droughts experienced by India raises alarm on the negative effects of future droughts on water security in the country.
India will see more droughts in the future. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)
October 25, 2019 Groundwater use has doubled in Pune. Comprehensive mapping of groundwater resources and better management and governance is the need of the hour.
Groundwater, an exploited resource (Image Source: India Water Portal)
October 1, 2019 Deconstructing the traditional narrow engineering based policy discourses around floods and droughts and connecting them to social and cultural realities is the need of the hour in India.
Water talk Series at Mumbai (Image Source:Tata Insitute of Social Sciences)
September 30, 2019 The recently concluded 4 day conference in Bangalore looked at the current state of global water resource challenges & future pathways to achieve the SDGs, while ensuring equity in access to all.
Charles Vorosmarty, Chair, COMPASS Initiative, Water Future at the opening plenary on advanced water system assessments to address water security challenges of the 21st century.
September 28, 2019 Groundwater, drawn at rapid rates from peri-urban areas of Hyderabad is now turning into a commodity, controlled and distributed by a few, to meet the needs of the urban elite.
Groundwater in Hyderabad, in peril (Image Source: India Water Portal)
September 25, 2019 Making false doomsday claims of a water crisis could support problematic mega solutions, which could lead to more problems.
India's demand for water will exceed supply by a factor of two by 2030, as per a NITI Aayog report (Image: Vinoth Chandar, Flickr Commons (CC BY 2.0))
Groundwater recharge needs grassroots solutions: A study of two techniques in Kerala
Although groundwater is emerging as a critical issue and has managed to encourage new government schemes, a generic solution of rainwater recharge cannot be applied across different regions. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months ago

In Kerala, around half the urban population and 80% of the rural population depend on open wells on their domestic water needs. But in the last decade, the majority of observatory wells recorded an average annual decline of half a meter.

Rainwater is captured from the rooftop of the community hall and diverted to the sump before it is pumped into the open well. (Image by Authors)
Where does the water in a well come from?
In the water sector, the focus on fixing demand and supply is taking us away from the real problem - the unnoticed groundwater dependencies in ever-expanding urban India. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 7 months 1 week ago

The environment versus development debate has increasingly become more polarised, with discussions in the public domain revealing a stark contrast of views. Development has increasingly come to symbolise ‘doing something’ and ensuring ‘visible outputs’, largely in the form of infrastructure.

An open well in Maharashtra (Image Source: IWP Flickr photos) Image used for representational purposes only.
Understanding Atal Bhujal Yojana through the program guidelines
The program envisages promoting panchayat led groundwater management and behavioural change with a primary focus on demand-side management. Amita Bhaduri posted 9 months ago

Groundwater fulfills the drinking water requirements of nearly 85% and 50% of the rural and urban Indian population, respectively. 65% of the total irrigated area utilizes groundwater. It also caters to the water needs of the industrial sector in India.

Community participation is expected to facilitate bottom-up groundwater planning process to improve the effectiveness of public financing and align implementation of various government programs on groundwater in the participating states (Image: Water Alternatives, Flickr Commons)
Need to protect the unique geological features in the Upper Ken basin
An attempt to document the geological features, water potential, and traditional wisdom around them in the Upper Ken basin. Amita Bhaduri posted 11 months ago

Kathayi, a scheduled tribe (ST) dominated village in the midst of the forested stretches of Shahnagar block in Panna district faces acute water scarcity during the 3-4 summer months. Through the government schemes, three wells and two hand pumps were installed in this 75 household village in the last 10-15 years, but most of them are dysfunctional now.

Panghata Kund in village Aloni, Panna (June 2014, after initial monsoon) (Image: Seema Ravandale)
Developing an effective participatory groundwater monitoring program at village level
Issues in groundwater management and recharge have been dealt with in a series of booklets as a part of the MARVI project. Amita Bhaduri posted 11 months 4 weeks ago

The ‘Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention’ (MARVI) project is being undertaken since February 2012 with the overall aim to improve the security of irrigation water supplies and enhance livelihood opportunities for rural communities in India.

One of the Bhujal Jankaars measuring groundwater levels manually (Image: Basant Maheshwari)
Springing back to life
Jal Jeevan Mission can go a long way to promote springshed management and ensure source sustainability of spring based piped water supply. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year ago

Springs are the key source of water for rural households in Uttarakhand, yet they have seen an overall neglect over the decades with discharge from many springs declining bit by bit. The depletion of aquifers, changes in land use and ecological degradation have led to several initiatives to address springshed management in the state. We speak to Dr.

Image: Flickr Commons
Decentralised groundwater governance to deal with the groundwater crisis
Decentralised groundwater governance frameworks that integrate democratic institutional mechanisms are needed to deal with the current groundwater crisis in India. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 year 2 months ago

The challenges to sustain groundwater dependency in India are many where groundwater over extraction is not only leading to rapid depletion of the resource, but also giving rise to water quality issues in a situation where the response at the level of policy continues to be lukewarm.

The need for decentralised governance to deal with the current groundwater crisis (Image Source: ACWADAM)
Perils, politics and prospects of groundwater in India
How can India change the game on groundwater management to deal with its overexploited aquifers? Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 3 months ago

After independence, India was largely food insecure but post Green Revolution around the 1970s, foodgrain production increased manifold consequently reducing food insecurity and poverty in the country, in spite of rapid population growth. Its ability to achieve targeted results was largely dependent on the explosion of groundwater abstraction mechanisms like tubewells.

An irrigation well at Randullabad, Maharashtra. (Image source: India Water Portal on Flickr)
Karnataka farmers cope as wells fail
A study looks at how households adapt to slow-moving environmental changes such as groundwater depletion. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year 3 months ago

Like in many parts of India, Karnataka’s groundwater is a vital source of irrigation water, but has been depleted by a combination of a prolonged, multi-year drought and intensive extraction. Worsening agro-climatic and environmental conditions are threatening the incomes of smallholder farmers and hampering the continued progress in poverty eradication.

An irrigation well at Randullabad, Maharashtra (Image source: India Water Portal on Flickr; Image used for representational purposes only)
Groundwater variability: The tale of two states
Gujarat shows good groundwater storage while Rajasthan shows severe groundwater depletion, inspite of both states in western India receiving good rainfall. Why is this so? Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 year 3 months ago

India, a groundwater stressed country

Groundwater decline in India (Image Source: India Water Portal)