Groundwater management under the climate change scenario in India – A presentation by ACWADAM
Climate change and its impact on the groundwater.

This presentation by ACWADAM deals with the issue of groundwater management under the climate change scenario in India. Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. The causes are -variations in solar radiations, plate tectonics, volcanism and change in earths orbit & axis.

The presentation describes the geological settings and the problems emerging due to climate change in them –

  • Damage to aquatic ecosystems due to reduced flows in springs/rivers
  • Increasing temperatures
  • Water scarcity
  • High rate of erosion due to high intensity rainfall
  • Changes in cropping pattern
  • Drying up of rivers
  • Damage due to cyclone in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal
  • Frequent droughts
  • Health problems due to poor water quality
  • Flood disaster in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar

South Asia is the largest user of groundwater and about one-fourth of the total use can be attributed to it. It is in this context that the effects of climate change and over use emerge as a disastrous combination. The impacts of climate change are drying up of millions of wells/borewells, poor quality of groundwater, salinity ingress and drying up of river combined with major changes in aquifers.

The presentation looks at a combination of climate change and groundwater exploitation impacts. It shows how in Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh the decrease in rainfall is of 15 to 20 per cent and in Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh the increase in rainfall is of 10 to 15 per cent during the last three decades. Barring the eastern region that is showing a decline in rainfall, the other regions fall in groundwater over-exploited/critical/semi-critical zone. It calls for developing a typology of aquifer behaviour under different ‘weather scenarios’ and study the impact of extreme events on aquifers.

This presentation is part of the training modules on planning, development and management of groundwater with special reference to watershed management programmes by ACWADAM. Please write to ACWADAM at for sourcing these presentations.


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