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GUIDELINES FOR GROUND WATER EXTRACTION
GUIDELINES FOR GROUND WATER EXTRACTION Context e The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) notified revised guidelines for ground water (GW) extraction to be effective from 1st June 2019. . Brief Background India is the largest user of ground water in the world about 25% of the global ground water extraction. Out of the total of 6584 assessment units, 1034 have been categorized as 'Over- exploited"; 253 as Critical'; 681 as Semi-Critical, and 96 assessment units have been classified as Saline The Easement Act, 1882, provides every landowner with the right to collect and dispose, within his own limits, all water under the land and on the surface. Landowners are not legally liable for any damage caused to water resources as a result of over-extraction . . In its various orders, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the CGWA to regulate the GW extraction by various users through system of registrations and No Objection Certificate (NOC) and user fees with a limit on quantum of GW to be extracted. In compliance with the NGT orders, the CGWA had circulated the draft guidelines for grant of 'No Objection Certificate' on the 11th October 2017
Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), constituted under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 has the mandate of regulating ground water development and management in the country. CGWA has been regulating ground water development for its sustainable management in the country through measures such as issue of advisories, public notices, grant of No Objection Certificates (NOC) for ground water withdrawal.
Salient features of the revised guidelines: The revised guidelines aim to ensure a more robust ground water regulatory mechanism in the country through system of NOC and user fee. . For Industries Introduction of the concept of Water Conservation Fee (WCF) which varies with the category of the area, type of industry and the quantum of ground water extraction. industries in over-exploited. use efficiency and discourage the growth of packaged drinking water units. The high rates of WCF are expected to discourage setting up of new The WCF would also compel industries to adopt measures relating to water
NOC to industries shall be granted only for such cases where government agencies are not able to supply the desired quantity of water. Encouraging use of recycled and treated sewage water by industries. Provision of action against polluting industries, and measures to be adopted to ensure prevention of ground water contamination in premises of polluting industries/ projects. Mandatory requirement of digital flow meters, piezometers and digital water level recorders (with or without telemetry depending upon quantum of extraction). Mandatory water audit by industries abstracting ground water 500 m3 /day or more in safe and semi-critical and 200 m3 /day or more in critical and overexploited assessment units. o Mandatory roof top rain water harvesting except for specified industries
The entire process of grant of NOC is done online through a web based application system of CGWA. It shall be renewed periodically, subject to compliance of the conditions. The applicant shall apply for renewal of NOC at least 90 days prior to expiry of its validity. For Drinking & Domestic use, -request for NOC shall be considered only in cases where the water supply department / agency concerned is unable to supply adequate amount of water in the area
. Exemptions Exemption from requirement of NOC has been given to agricultural users, users employing non-energised means to extract water, individual households (using less than 1 inch diameter delivery pipe) and Armed Forces Establishments during operational deployment or during mobilization in forward locations. o Other exemptions (with certain requirements) have been granted to strategic and operational infrastructure projects for Armed Forces, Defence and Paramilitary Forces Establishments and Government water supply agencies in safe and semi critical areas.
Issues with the Policy Guidelines Rather than banning extraction of groundwater in areas which have been alarmingly overexploited, the government has made the issue negotiable. Experts say the more one pays, the more they can withdraw water. NGT also, expressed its concern stating that merely imposing a cost was not enough to curb groundwater extraction. e The draft rules, which were released in 2017 for public suggestions, had done away with the mandatory limit of reuse of water extracted by the industries. This is when the earlier set of rules had very specific limits depending upon the type of area. It ranged from 40 per cent to 100 per cent depending on if the area was safe, semi-critical, critical or over-exploited for groundwater. However, those limits do not exist anymore Agriculture, amounting 90% of the annual ground water extraction is kept out of regulations. Only an indicative list of demand side measures are provided to minimise the water uses. All categories exempted from requirement of NOC shall also be exempted from paying WCF. WCF rates are too low to discourage the GW extraction Textiles industry would be hurt a lot due to its heavy water dependency.