Onus on water management plans primarily with States: Shekhawat

Onus on water management plans primarily with States: Shekhawat

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 11: Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday told the Lok Sabha that water being a state subject, initiatives on water management including conservation and artificial recharge to ground water in the country is primarily States’ responsibility.

''However, the Central Government has taken up important long term policies initiatives for conservation of ground water and rain water harvesting to recharge ground water in order to control depletion of ground water level in the country,'' the Minister said while replying to a question on shortage of water during Question Hour.

He said ground water levels in various parts of the country are reducing due to continuous withdrawal and 1186 units in 17 States/UTs have been categorized as 'Over-exploited'.

'Ground water levels in various parts of the Country are declining because of continuous withdrawal due to reasons such as increased demand of fresh water for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increased population, industrialization & urbanization etc,'' the Minister said.

He said Central Ground Water Board is periodically monitoring the ground water levels throughout the Country on a regional scale, through a network of monitoring wells. In order to assess the decline in water level on a long-term basis, Pre-monsoon water level data collected by CGWB during Pre-monsoon 2019 has been compared with the decadal average (2009-2018).

The Minister said analysis of water level data indicates that about 61 per cent of the wells monitored have registered decline in ground water levels.

''The Dynamic Ground Water Resources of the country are being periodically assessed jointly by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and State Governments. As per the 2017 assessment, out of the total 6881 assessment units (Block/ Taluks/ Mandals/ watersheds/ Firkas) in the country, 1186 units in 17 States/UTs have been categorized as ‘Over-exploited’ where Current Annual Ground Water Extraction is more than Annual Extractable Ground Water Resource,'' the Minister said.

Replying to another question, he said as announced in the Union Budget Speech 2019-20, it has been envisaged to ensure Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (piped water supply) to all rural households by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

He said the Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country. An amount of Rs 10,000.66 crore has been allocated in the current financial year 2019-20 for the programme.

He said as per the existing administrative mechanism, funds would be released to the States by the Department of Drinking water and Sanitation and State Government will be responsible for implementation of the programme. (UNI)