As told to Parliament: Over 1,000 groundwater units in India over-exploited

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 29 March 2022

Groundwater resources of 1,114 units in 15 states / Union territories are ‘over-exploited’, where the annual groundwater extraction is more than the annual extractable groundwater, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti (water resources) told the Rajya Sabha March 29, 2022. 

No city or village will exhaust its water resources in the near future, according to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), the minister added. 

No data on water-intensive crops

No specific data is available on the number of farmers shifted to less water-intensive crops and amount of water saved due to the ‘Sahi Fasal’ campaign, according to Tudu. 

Central and state governments, however, have been implementing programmes to enhance water-use efficiency in agriculture and encourage farmers for crop diversification as well as to opt for less water-intensive crops, the minister said.

High river pollution in Maharashtra

As many as 351 polluted river stretches have been identified in India, including 53 stretches (highest) in the state of Maharashtra, according to a 2018 report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Tudu noted. The results are based on monitoring results in terms of bio-chemical oxygen demand, an indicator of organic pollution, he added.

Over half of Rajasthan's reservoirs at 10 mbgl level

The depth of groundwater was 10 metres below ground level (mbgl) in 87 per cent of the total wells analysed across the country as of November 2019, said Bishweswar Tudu. In Rajasthan, about 49 per cent of the wells monitored have registered water level upto 10 mbgl, he added. 

CGWB periodically monitors groundwater levels throughout the country on a regional scale, through a network of monitoring wells. 

Elephants deaths on railway tracks

A total of 12 elephant death occurred on railway tracks in 2020-21, Bhupender Yadav, Union minister for environment, forest and climate change told the Lok Sabha. 

His ministry, in coordination with the Union Ministry of Railways, has taken a number of measures to prevent elephant deaths on railway tracks, Yadav said.

Wetland area witnessed growth

The total wetland area was estimated to be 15.98 million hectares (Mha), according to Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change told the Lok Sabha. He was citing from Space-based Observation of Indian Wetlands, 2021 report by Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad. 

The wetland area in the country has increased 0.64 Mha from 2006-07 estimates, he added. 

A total of 231,195 wetlands (bigger than 2.25 hectares in size) have been mapped during 2017-18, the minister said. 

65 urban greening projects sanctioned

A total of 65 afforestation projects in the urban and semi-urban areas have been sanctioned in 22 states so far, Choubey said. These are part of the Nagar Van Yojana (NVY) for providing a wholesome healthy living environment, and contributing to growth of smart, clean, green, sustainable and healthy cities.

Afforestation has been taken up over two Mha land annually since 2019-20, he added. 

NVY envisages developing 400 nagar vans (urban forests) and 200 nagar vatikas (gardens) in the country from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an objective to significantly enhance the tree outside forests and green cover, enhancement of biodiversity and ecological benefits to the urban and peri-urban areas apart from improving quality of life of city dwellers, the minister said. 

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