Groundwater extraction this year down 6 billion cubic metres from 2020

Annual groundwater extraction for irrigation, domestic and industrial uses has come down by about 6 billion cubic metres (bcm) to 239 bcm in 2022 from 2020, shows the latest groundwater assessment report released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti on Thursday.

The report — National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources Of India, 2022 — said: “The total annual groundwater recharge for the entire country as of 2022 has increased by 1.29 bcm as compared to the last assessment (2020). The total annual extractable GW resources has also increased by 0.56 bcm. The annual groundwater extraction for irrigation, domestic and Industrial uses has also decreased by 5.76 bcm during this period.”

“About 87% of total annual groundwater extraction i.e. 208.49 bcm is for irrigation use. Only 30.69 bcm is for domestic and industrial use, which is about 13% of the total extraction,” said the report.

The decrease in annual groundwater extraction for irrigation, domestic and industrial uses is broadly in line with the similar decline in previous assessments. In fact, the annual groundwater extraction has seen a decline since 2017 when it came down 249 bcm from a record high of 253 bcm in 2013. Before 2013, the figure of annual groundwater extraction had seen an upward trend: 231 bcm in 2004, 243 bcm in 2009 and 245 in 2013.

While no specific reasons have been given in the report for a sharp decline in the extraction of groundwater for irrigation, domestic and industrial uses during 2022, the report says, “These variations are attributed mainly to refinement of parameters, refinement in well census data and changing groundwater regime.”

Stage of groundwater extraction

The report shows the annual groundwater recharge was assessed at around 438 bcm in 2022 — up from 436 bcm in 2020 and 432 in 447. But this was lower than the 447 bcm annual groundwater recharge assessed in 2013.

The report also states that the monitoring of the groundwater resources was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

“In the years 2020 and 2021, due to the outbreak of Covid-19 throughout the country, the field activities of CGWB including monitoring of water levels have been severely affected. The water levels could not be monitored for consecutively two pre-monsoon (April/May) seasons in the years 2020 and 2021. Also water levels could not be monitored in some states during November-2020 for the same reason. Due to the unavailability of water level data for Pre-monsoon 2021, the analysis of pre-monsoon water levels has been done taking the 2022 water level data,” the report said.

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