The Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Bill, 2009 aims to facilitate and ensure sustainable and adequate supply of groundwater of prescribed quality, for various category of users, through supply and demand management measures, protecting public drinking water sources and to establish the State Groundwater Authority and District Level Authorities to manage and to regulate, with community participation, the exploitation of groundwater within the State of Maharashtra.
As regards powers and functions of the State Groundwater Authority the bill states the following -
- The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority established under section 3 of the Water Resources Authority Act, shall be the State Groundwater Authority for the purposes of this Act, who shall exercise the powers conferred on and discharge such functions and duties as assigned to it, under this Act, in the manner as may be prescribed.
- In addition to the five special invitees mentioned in the Water Resources Act, the State Authority shall invite the Director, Groundwater Survey and Development Agency and one expert from the field of groundwater and one woman representing the users of groundwater as may be specified by the Government and on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed for assisting the State Authority in taking policy decisions.
- The State Authority, after receiving recommendations from the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency and views of various institutions working in the groundwater field including the Central Groundwater Authority, based on scientific groundwater quality studies and estimation and after ascertaining the views of the users of groundwater of the area, is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient in the public interest to regulate the extraction or the use of groundwater or both in any form in a watershed or aquifer area, shall declare such area to be a notified area, by notification in the Official Gazette, for the purposes of this Act.
- The State Authority shall establish the Watershed Water Resources Committee under section 29 of this Act, with the objective of promoting and regulating the development and management of groundwater in the notified area.
- If in the opinion of the State Authority, the availability and quality of groundwater has improved in the notified area, it shall, after consultation with the Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency and after obtaining the views of expert bodies, including the Central Groundwater Authority, de-notify such area by notification in the Official Gazette.
- No user of groundwater shall do anything or release any effluent that contaminates the groundwater either temporarily or permanently.
- The State Authority shall take such measures as may be necessary for the protection and preservation of water quality of drinking water source within the notified and non-notified areas in the State, in consultation with the Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency and District Authority.
- The State Authority shall take such necessary measures as may be prescribed for the protection and preservation of groundwater quality of all the existing drinking water sources in the State, including the measures for protecting the drinking water sources and recharge worthy areas.
Download the bill here: