Himachal Pradesh has the best groundwater table as water exploited is quickly recharged, while atlas aquifer has shown depletion in water table in rest of North India, according to the data released by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB).
The recently released data by the CGWB showed that over exploitation due to population concentration has led to depletion of water and the recharge process is slow due to the type of soil in the region.
Releasing the Atlas Aquifer system of Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Karnataka and Meghalaya, recently union water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has said, "It is critical challenge during the 12th Five Year Plan to evolve holistic strategies to manage ground water resources in rational and mapping of aquifers by the CGWB."
Showing concern over depletion in the water-level, Bansal attributed growing domestic, industrial and agriculture demand for the depletion in the water table. The country's first aquifers atlas earlier had also shown a grim picture of state of affair in groundwater levels in Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Himachal Pradesh is considered as a major watershed of North India having long range of glaciers as a perennial source of water recharge which not only feed major five rivers Satluj, Beas, Ravi, Yamuna and Chenab but also maintain fountain flow of water in other rivers and rivulets, which is a major source of irrigation in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
In order to maintain the water recharge in the groundwater, the World Bank has been also funding million dollar watershed schemes, which are yet to bear fruit.
Eighty per cent of state's agricultural activities depend on the rain-fed irrigation. South-west monsoon system though remained 10 per cent deficient, water resources are recharged to the local need currently overflowing after onset of monsoon.