Government undertakes 3D mapping of aquifers in all villages

Policy matters this week
Groundwater drops to alarming levels. Illustration credit: KN Balraj. Source: India Water Portal on Flickr Groundwater drops to alarming levels. Illustration credit: KN Balraj. Source: India Water Portal on Flickr

Government to 3D map aquifers in all villages

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat said that the Centre is carrying out 3D aquifer mapping of every village in India, to help target water conservation measures at a micro level across the country. Such an exercise will help the government carry out its recharge plan, which includes reuse of treated greywater.

"The ongoing exercise of 3D aquifer (underground layer of water-bearing rock) mapping at micro-level will assist the government in estimating quantity and quality of ground water in a particular village or cluster of villages and help in assessment of sustainable level of ground extraction. The mapping is being undertaken by the Central Ground Water Board on the scale of 1:50,000 in 3D. Currently, 1,034 blocks (ground water assessment units) out of 6,584 are over-exploited, which means withdrawal of ground water is more than recharge in those particular units."

(Times of India)

Plans afoot to replicate Maharashtra's water regulatory model in all states

The Jal Shakti Ministry is closely considering the voluntary replication of Maharashtra's water regulatory model across states to encourage and ensure more responsible water usage in the country through measurement, auditing and possible pricing mechanisms. A few months ago, the Centre conducted an interstate meeting in Pune to introduce state governments to the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA), which has been operating since 2005 and is empowered to fix water charges, resolve disputes, effect enforcement and oversee the role of the service provider and the relationship with water users. The Ministry is also looking at ways to bring in category-based measurement of water usage. (The Economic Times)

Bharat Lal from Gujarat forest service cadre brought on to spearhead Jal Shakti Abhiyan

Bharat Lal from the Gujarat forest service has been appointed by the Prime Minister to lead the Jal Shakti Abhiyan is expected to morph into a mission, captioned "Jal se Nal" (water to tap) next month to signify the Centre's intent to provide piped drinking water to all. Lal is reported to have caught the PM's attention after the Gujarat earthquake, when he said that water did not need "management", but "solutions" - those not contained in the humungous tankers and trains ferrying water to distressed places, but conserving it at its sources and reviving defunct water bodies with local help, from farmers and villagers. (Mumbai Mirror)

Polavaram project works stopped as government to go in for fresh tenders

The construction of the Polavaram major irrigation project on the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh has come to a grinding halt. The state government has terminated the contract given to Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, and has decided to go in for fresh tenders to complete the remaining work. This decision was based on the recommendation of an eight-member committee set up in June to examine the processes followed by the previous government for tendering, launching and executing engineering work. In the termination notice, the chief engineer pointed out that the previous government had terminated the original contractor and entrusted the balance work to Navayuga Engineering on a nomination basis, which was an inappropriate process. (Hindustan Times)

Gurugram creates GuruJal team to tackle groundwater crisis

Under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Gurugram has appointed a team of young professionals to look into the city’s 'dark zone' status - a result of groundwater depletion. The GuruJal team is looking at five major interventions - water conservation and rainwater harvesting (RWH); renovation of traditional water bodies; watershed development; reuse and recharge of borewell structures; and intensive afforestation. Under the programme an aerial survey of all dying lakes in Kasan, Kukrala, and Damdama has been conducted and all big lakes in these areas will be conserved. (Hindustan Times)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from the past week. Also read our round up of the most important news this week.

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