Groundwater problem in India: Despite being the lifeline of India's water supply

India has a groundwater problem despite being the lifeline of India’s water supplies, which is even overlooked by policy makers and users alike.

A majority of India’s water problems are those relating to groundwater—water that is found beneath the earth’s surface. This is because India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, and therefore highly dependent on it. At just over 260 cubic km per year, the country uses 25 percent of all groundwater extracted globally, ahead of USA and China. And because 70 percent of the water supply in agriculture today is groundwater, it remains the lifeline of India’s water supplies for years to come.

Despite this, the people of India have an extremely poor understanding of groundwater, which impacts both policy and practice.  Groundwater is also a highly complex subject that is governed by many ‘conditionalities’. It is this ignorance, by both users and people in governance, that has contributed to this situation. Moreover, groundwater education still focuses largely on ‘exploring’ new sources of groundwater that will lead to the ‘development’ of groundwater resources.

The subject of groundwater in aquifers is often considered quite complex as compared to providing groundwater supplies from wells, even if these wells continue to become deeper and deeper as groundwater levels decline. In the gap between supply on one side, and demand on the other, people are losing out on components of groundwater management from many systems of education delivery.


Photo Credit: The Hindu


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