While reviewing the status of groundwater, the standing committee of parliament on water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation noted that groundwater across 1071 locations across 16 states and two union territories is being over exploited.
Worried about the indiscriminate extraction of groundwater for irrigation, industries and domestic use and its groundwater contamination, a parliamentary panel has asked the Union ministry of water resources to carry out a study to detail impact of groundwater extraction on farming, health and environment. The panel has asked the ministry to submit the report in six months from now.While reviewing the status of groundwater, the standing committee of parliament on water resource, river development and Ganga rejuvenation noted that groundwater across 1071 locations across 16 states and two union territories is being over exploited. These locations comprise of blocks, mandals, talukas and districts are spread over a total area of 5 lakh square kms of the country and have been termed as ‘dark blocks’. These dark blocks stretch from plus localities such as the capital’s Defence Colony and Hauz Khas to districts in southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The committee are gravely concerned that the country is on the path towards a serious water crisis in the near future due to over-extraction and quality deterioration of groundwater,” the parliamentary panel said. While recommending that a study be carried out, the panel specifically asked the ministry to map agricultural land falling in dark blocks. According to the the data provided on the annual ground water withdrawal, irrigation sector accounted for the maximum share; 90.75%, followed by domestic and industrial sector, whose combined share was 9.25%.The committee noted that states such as Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan saw high levels of groundwater extraction for irrigation. In Punjab, irrigation accounts for 97.9% groundwater withdrawal while in Haryana and Rajasthan, the figures stand at 94.5% and 88.4% respectively.Along with indiscriminate groundwater extraction, high contamination of water in rural habitations was reported in the year 2015. The parliamentary panel was informed that as of May 2015, states have reported that water in 63,282 rural settlements was contaminated by heavy metals or toxic metals such as arsenic, flouride, salinity, iron and nitrate. Some of the states worst hit due to groundwater contamination are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, Assam and Tripura.
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