India’s Groundwater Challenge and the Way Forward
P S Vijay Shankar , Himanshu Kulkarni , Sunderrajan Krishnan
The groundwater crisis is acquiring alarming proportions in many parts of the country. Strategies to respond to groundwater overuse and deteriorating water quality must be based on a new approach involving typologising the resource problems and redefining the institutional structure governing groundwater. This approach is based on the notion of groundwater as common property. The complex nature of groundwater problems in India implies that a detailed understanding of regimes in different hydrogeological settings and socio-economic situations is the prerequisite for sustainable and equitable management. Further, the management strategies should be specified keeping aquifer-scales in mind. For the adoption of this new approach, reforms are needed in how we assess groundwater resources, map aquifers, monitor quality and in the legal and institutional framework for groundwater governance. A national programme of groundwater management based on this processspecific approach is needed to address the challenge.