India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. Agriculture, rural and urban domestic water supply and increasingly industries are shaping the dependency on groundwater. More importantly, in the case of India as in most of South Asia, groundwater is critical to ensure drinking water security besides being the lifeline for the livelihoods of millions of small and marginal farmers.
A few of us did an exercise where we closed our eyes and thought of the first four words that came to our minds when we thought of water data in India. Here is what we came up with:
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.
The Gond dynasties mainly flourished in the Central highlands of India. This region includes Sagar, Bhopal, and nearly half of Narmada valley, including the flanks of Vindhya and the Satpuda mountain ranges of southern Madhya Pradesh. The principal states of the Gonds were Garha-Mandla (1300 to 1789), Devgarh, Kherla and Chanda.
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.
People in remote hamlets left out by previous schemes like Swajal and Sector Wide Approach Program of the Uttarakhand Jal Nigam and Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan longed for household-level piped water supply for drinking and domestic purposes.
India’s Himalayan rivers have been a cradle of civilisational development and a centre for faith and culture for ages. Ganga being a fertile basin has been a significant contributor to our agricultural economy as well as our river-based agrarian development.
National Water Mission’s (NWM) has launched a campaign ‘Catch the rain’ on a pan India basis to nudge the states and stakeholders to create appropriate rainwater harvesting structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata before the onset of monsoon.
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.