Central body drafts revised guidelines to regulate use of groundwater
Use of fresh groundwater for swimming pools and other water-based recreation has been prohibited in critical and overexploited areas.india Updated: Oct 23, 2017 23:28 IST
The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has drafted revised guidelines to regulate the use of groundwater.
Once approved, the rules will prohibit granting of no-objection certificate (NOC) for extracting groundwater for construction activities if the project is located in areas where water level is critical or overexploited. The guidelines will affect Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Puducherry, which fall in overexploited areas where groundwater consumption is over 100%.
Use of fresh groundwater for swimming pools and other water-based recreation has also been prohibited in critical and overexploited areas.
Besides, the quantum of groundwater for purposes other than drinking /domestic use such as horticulture, fire fighting arrangements, cleaning etc shall not exceed 25% of the total groundwater abstraction.
The CGWA, which regulates the use of groundwater across India, has sought comments from states and Union Territories on the draft guidelines. It has set a 60-day timeline for states to respond after which the guidelines will be finalised and notified. States can modify the instructions but not dilute it.
All users drawing or proposing to draw groundwater through non-energised means and pump of up to two horsepower from a single tubewell in their premises will be exempted from seeking NOC. The CGWA has also introduced a water conservation fee for anybody extracting groundwater. The fee will vary based on the quantum of water that is extracted and will be paid to state governments who can use it for water conservation measures.
For instance, those extracting groundwater for industries such as packaged drinking water/soft drinks/breweries/distilleries in a critical area will be charged Rs 1.10 per cubic metre if extraction is less than 500 cubic metre per day.
The draft guidelines also empower district magistrates and deputy commissioners in states to issue NOC if the quantum of groundwater being extracted is up to 50 cubic metre per day in safe and semi-critical assessment units, except those proposing to tap saline aquifers.
First Published: Oct 23, 2017 23:28 IST