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Ground water law implemented in 21 states and union territories

On July 20, 2023, the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti revealed that 21 states and union territories in India have successfully implemented the Ground Water Act. This legislation includes a crucial provision for rainwater harvesting, aimed at promoting sustainable water management. In response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bishweshwar Tudu, informed that the ministry has prepared a model bill to assist all states and union territories in enacting suitable groundwater laws.

States Embracing the Rainwater Harvesting Model

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  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti confirmed that 21 states and union territories have already implemented groundwater laws based on the Model Bill.
  • These states and UTs include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

Significant Progress in Water Accessibility for Rural SC Households

  • As part of the Ground Water Act’s implementation, tap water has been provided to 60 percent of rural households in areas predominantly inhabited by Scheduled Caste (SC) communities.
  • Out of a total of 2,18,06,280 rural households in SC-concentrated/dominated areas, 1,32,64,760 households now have access to tap water connections.

Agriculture’s Heavy Reliance on Groundwater

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  • Groundwater serves as the primary source of irrigation in India, playing a critical role in sustaining agricultural practices.
  • It is estimated that around 70% of the country’s food production relies on tube wells and other groundwater sources.
  • However, this extensive use of groundwater in agriculture has led to a growing groundwater crisis, necessitating a comprehensive action plan for conservation.

India’s Global Water Consumption Status

  • In 2018, the ‘World Water Development Report’ published by UNESCO identified India as the world’s largest groundwater user.
  • The country’s heavy dependence on groundwater for various purposes underscores the urgency to implement effective water conservation measures and sustainable management practices.

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