What CGWA instructs on Saline Groundwater Extraction & what does it mean?

The Central Groundwater Authority(CGWA) is the statutory body established under the Water Act, responsible for regulating groundwater developments all over India.

Dated 24/09/2020, the statutory body released its general guidelines on the extraction and Monitoring of groundwater. In this guideline, it was also mentioned that there will be separate guidelines released for the abstraction of Saline Groundwater.  

In this article, we are going to look at what the guidelines are regarding the saline groundwater extraction.

Why is Groundwater Management important?

But before, we also need to realize why groundwater management as an issue needs to be taken into seriously. Looking at some of the available statistics,

  • The National Institute of Transforming India(NITI) Ayog in its Aug 2018 reports nearly 2 Lakhs people per year in India die due to lack of safe drinking water.
  • 65% of the total groundwater reservoirs have below-normal water levels.

This mainly concludes groundwater pollution and its scarcity are the challenges prevalent all over the country.

CGWA Guidelines on Saline Groundwater Abstraction

Now let’s look at the salient points of this Guidelines, which goes as follows-

  1. You must get NOC from CGWA following all its due procedures before extracting the saline groundwater for commercial purposes.
  2. You are exempted from paying groundwater extraction or restoration charges.
  3. You need to install a piezometer to regularly monitor pressure levels.
  4. You need to install flowmetry with a telemetry system to monitor groundwater quality, especially the electrical conductivity parameter.  
  5. You need to follow rainwater harvesting procedures as prescribed by the respective States/UTs.
  6. For the partially saline assessment units, you must ensure that coning of saline water into freshwater, or mixing, or sea water ingress towards land doesn’t occur.
  7. In areas where partial saline water is present, if you find fresh water coming out while extraction, then you must immediately inform the regional office, CGWB. The charges of the fresh water extraction will be then as per the general CGWA Guidelines.

What does it implies?

Saline water is a water that has a significant amount of dissolved salts dissolved in it – more than 1000 ppm. So, it’s not potable for use but can be used for some industrial purposes, such as power-plant cooling, and in mining industries.  

We knew from the guidelines that CGWA is keen enough to exempt industries from paying any charges for the saline groundwater extraction. This is done mainly to encourage all industrial sectors to use the saline groundwater for their industrial purposes. 

CGWA also focuses on installing a groundwater monitoring telemetry system to continuously monitor the water quality parameters. As per its general guidelines, the industries failing to do so may attract a fine of up to Rs 200,000, which goes with this guideline also.

Finally, CGWA as a regulatory body is taking its steps to conserve groundwater. But the onus to save water also lies on each one of us. And we, as an individual can play an important role in this even by taking small steps to save water, such as – efficiently using water taps, running fully loaded dishwashers & washing machines, avoiding food wastage, etc.

Official Source of CGWA Guidelines on Saline Groundwater

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