Representational Image (Pixabay)
New Delhi: Tamil Nadu is at the top on the list of states that have over-exploited groundwater.
The state has 435 over-exploited assessment units (Block/ Taluks/ Mandals/ watersheds/ Firkas) that are spread in 37 districts.
Rajasthan with 203 over-exploited assessment units in 29 districts and Punjab with 117 over-exploited assessment units in 20 districts are at second and third spots respectively.
This fact came to the fore after the Minister of State for Jal Shakti Prahlad Singh Patel submitted a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on April 4, 2022.
“As per the 2020 assessment, out of the total 6965 assessment units in the country, 1114 units (16%) have been categorized as ‘Over-exploited’ spreading over 205 districts in 15 States/UTs where the Annual Ground Water Extraction is more than Annual Extractable Ground Water Resource,” Patel said.
According to the Minister, 270 units have been categorized as ‘Critical’ spreading over 155 districts in 18 States/UTs, where the Annual Ground Water Extraction is between 90% and 100% of the Annual Extractable Ground Water Resource.
Tamil Nadu again is at the top spot with 63 ‘critical-exploitation’ units that are spread in 37 districts.
After Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh is the state where groundwater extraction has reached a critical stage.
The state’s 49 assessment units are engaged in the critical exploitation of groundwater. These units are spread in 26 districts of the state.
Telangana is at the number three spot with 44 critical exploitation assessment units in 18 districts.
Wellness Report of Wells
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) monitors the groundwater levels throughout the country by monitoring wells.
Patel informed that in order to assess the long-term fluctuation in groundwater level, the water level data collected by CGWB during November 2021 has been compared with the decadal mean of November (2011-2020).
Analysis of water level data revealed that about 30% of the wells monitored have registered a decline in groundwater level, whereas, about 70 % of wells have registered a rise in water level.
The States/ UTs where water levels monitored have registered a fall of more than 30% are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Puducherry, Nagaland, and Uttarakhand.
The States/ UTs where water levels monitored have registered a rise of more than 70% are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
(The Writer is Editor, Politics Watch)