There’s an urgent need to address the issue of groundwater scarcity all around the world.
As per a report of June 2019, 65% of the total groundwater reservoirs in India have below-normal water levels.
Another report from National Institute for Transforming India(NITI) states around 200,000 people in India die each year due to a lack of safe drinking water.
So, the concern is now not specific to an area or state but has become an issue of national interest. Aligning itself with the goal, this article will explain why management of groundwater and its conservation should be taken seriously.
What is Groundwater Management?
Groundwater management is a process that aims at the sustainability of groundwater to benefit each and every stakeholder involved in the usage of groundwater. That stakeholders are farmers, administrators, scientists, environmentalists, and individual consumers of a society.
The aim is to prevent groundwater pollution due to a number of industrial activities and individual interactions, and to preserve it for present and future usages.
Why is Groundwater Management important?
Based on the current situation and statistics, we have the following reasons for taking groundwater management seriously.
1. World is facing groundwater scarcity
A born and raised resident of Doula, a small village in Uttar Pradesh that lies North West New Delhi informs us of his and other villager’s struggle due to groundwater scarcity.
Krishan Pal Singh, who is also an active environmentalist in the area describes that the situation wasn’t of concern till the late 1980s. They were able to extract sweet groundwater through shallow wells just (7-8)m deep, and use it for drinking and irrigation of their corps. But the things are now different for them from the last few decades or so.
They have witnessed the establishment of industries around the Hindon river that flows alongside their village. The industries nearby have not only polluted the river water by dumping their wastage, but the over-extraction of groundwater also has reduced the water level of the aquifer.
This is just one story of India’s facing and fiercely upcoming groundwater crisis. The fact is, dirty aquifers and water shortage across all over the country has started destabilizing India’s economy.
2. Groundwater pollution is a serious concerned
Groundwater is susceptible to pollution. The groundwater contamination may occur due to the mixing of substances like oil, gasoline, road salts, fertilizers and pesticides, and other chemicals inside it. These substances if left open or untreated on the ground surface may seep into the groundwater table over a long period of time, and make it unfit for drinking and daily usages.
Leakage from septic tanks buried underground and accidental leakages from the underground industrial storage tanks are other causes of the groundwater. Drinking contaminated water occurring due to septic tank leakage causes diseases like hepatitis, dysentery, and diarrhea.
3. Groundwater is a non-renewable resource, practically
Groundwater recharge takes its time. In fact, as per a study conducted by the University of Victoria, groundwater is practically a non-renewable resource. Because less than 6% of the water is replenished within a human lifetime.
‘Groundwater is a super-important resource. It’s used by more than a third of the world’s population every day for their drinking water.Tom Gleeson, the University of Victoria Hydrogeologist who led the study
There’s something called “safe yield” of groundwater. “Safe yield” means the amount of water that you can extract from an aquifer. If groundwater is extracted more than the safe yield, then it raises the risk of water scarcity.
Each and every stakeholder involved in groundwater usage has its own requirements and expectations. This gives obvious reasons for conflicts among themselves. One type of conflict may arise on quantity matter. Eg. In regions where more volume of groundwater can be obtained if a well is dug deeper into the ground. While another one might be concerned with the quality of groundwater extracted.
Whatever be the case, the issue is once the groundwater is depleted, it won’t be replenished soon. This is one of the reasons that make the management of groundwater an important issue to be tackled with different steps and strategies.
Talking about our country India, it’s highly dependent on groundwater than any other nation in the world. You may be surprised knowing that it amounts to 1/4th of the world’s total
4. To meet statutory regulation
Fortunately, government bodies around the world are taking serious steps to combat all the issues described above.
In India, the statutory body under the name Central Ground Water Authority(CGWA) is responsible for regulating groundwater developments. As per the latest CGWA Guidelines, it’s mandatory for industries extracting more than 10 cubic meters of water to install a Groundwater Monitoring Telemetry System.