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Falling groundwater level sparks concern.

Groundwater levels in various parts of India are declining as the country could not adequately recharge aquifers in deficit areas where it has been used for irrigation, industries and drinking water needs of the growing population over the years.

The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has told the ministry of water resources that around 56% of the wells, which are analyzed to keep a tab on ground water level, showed decline in its level in 2013 as compared to the average of preceding 10 years (2003-12) period.

 Of the 10,219 wells that the CGWB -a government agency -analyzed, it found that 5,699 wells had reported decline during that period. It also concluded that agriculture sector is the biggest user of water followed by domestic and industrial sector.

Sharing the Board’s data, the ministry of water resources had last week told the Lok Sabha that the ground water was continuously being exploited due to growth in population, increased industrialization and irrigation. As a result, ground water levels in various parts of the country are declining.

Depleting ground water level may be a real worry if one looks at the future demand of water in India. It is estimated that the country would need 1,180 billion cubic meter (BCM) of water annually by 2050. India has, at present, annual potential of 1,123 BCM of `utilizable’ water, out of which 690 BCM coming from surface water resources and remaining 433 BCM from ground water resources.

In view of this projection, the country would not be able to meet its future demand unless it recharges its aquifers and uses water more efficiently and judiciously. The government has already decided to set up a National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (NBWUE) under its `National Water Mission’ to promote water conservation in a big way, keeping in mind the future requirement.

The CGWB has, on its part, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Remote Sensing to facilitate a collaborative study “to assess the impact of ground water abstraction” in India.

Dam levels still low in Pune

Pune city recorded traces of rain on July 26 and the IMD has forecast light rain in some areas in the next 24 hours. Storage levels in the four dams that supply water to Pune city barely rose by 1% on July 25-26, which adds to the worries of state irrigation department and civic officials who have said that water cuts in the city would continue if till the next monsoon if the dams are not filled to capacity this year.

According to Weather officials the El Nino phenomenon that subdued the monsoon has weakened, but its impact would persist.

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