Water

Environment ministry's 50-year plan to tackle water crisis

An expert committee has proposed to regulate the overuse of water in agriculture by registration of inventories for borewells across the country

 
Last Updated: Thursday 08 August 2019

India, the world’s largest groundwater consumer, uses around 230 cubic kilometers of groundwater in a year.

Of the total available groundwater (253 billion cubic metres), around 90 per cent (228.3 BCM) is used in agricultural irrigation.

An expert committee report of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed to regulate the overuse of water in agriculture by registration of inventories for borewells across the country.

The committee proposes that a user-friendly mobile application needs to be developed for this purpose. Use of treated sewage water for agriculture should be made mandatory, suggested the committee.

Cultivation of water-intensive crops should be discontinued and farmers should shift to water-efficient crops like millets, read the panel’s report. To handle groundwater depletion, the committee proposed a 50-year-plan. It suggested charging water conservation fee from all users for groundwater extraction.

The report emphasised on marking areas where groundwater is over-exploited as protective areas and a ban on extraction of groundwater for new/expansion projects there.

The report suggested that in the coming 50 years India should resort to water mapping, use of artificial intelligence for ground water study and management and set up 2.5 lakh groundwater monitoring stations.

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