|A two day seminar on National Project on Aquifer Management began in New Delhi today. Organized by Central Ground Water Board the seminar provides a platform for exchange of ideas among different stakeholders on aquifer management. The Seminar is being attended by more than 200 participants including planners and administrators from various ministries of Govt. of India, Central and State Government organizations, PRIs, NGOs and VOs associated in water sector etc.
Inaugurating the seminar Dr. Mihir Shah, Member, Planning Commission said that the aquifer management programme will change the way we manage ground water resources. He said it will play a crucial role in managing the food security, sanitation and health issues of the country through multiple approach.
India is the largest user of Ground water in the world having about 30 million groundwater abstraction structures. Through these structures, more than 243 BCM of groundwater is being abstracted annually. Over 90% of the abstraction is being utilized for irrigation purpose. Due to higher development of groundwater in northwest and southern India the aquifers are under stress. In addition groundwater pollution is also affecting several parts of the country. Therefore there is paradigm shift from groundwater development to management. To address these issues adequately National Project on Aquifer Management has been taken up by the Ministry of Water Resources, GOI during the XII five year plan for which Central Ground Water Board is the nodal agency. The Project envisages delineation and detailed characterization of aquifers in the country. Information thus generated is proposed to be used for developing effective ground water management plans at regional and local levels. Considerable data and information has been generated by Central and State Agencies, Universities & Research Institutions, NGOs etc. at different scales. Integration of available data, identification of data gaps and generation of new data will facilitate formulation of management strategies at micro level. National Project on Aquifer Management is being implemented in 12th plan and likely to be continued in 13th plan. Ground water over exploited areas and water quality vulnerable areas are being given priority in12th plan.
The goal of the National Project on Aquifer Management is groundwater management resulting in equitable, safe and sustainable management of India’s groundwater resources through improved systems of resource mapping, utilization and governance. Aquifer mapping refers to collection of information on the subsurface lithology in terms of their vertical and horizontal extension and water bearing properties including water quality. Therefore, the objective of aquifer mapping is to arrive at mapping of the complex geometry of different aquifer systems of the country, defined by hydrogeological settings, with a clear cut linkage to strategic actions on the ground (groundwater management strategies). There is a need to standardize the procedures for aquifer mapping to be followed throughout the country. The workshop will provide a forum for deliberations on identified issues such as the steps involved in aquifer mapping, role of state agencies, participatory management, water quality data and related inputs.
During this two day seminar three technical sessions have been organized followed by a panel discussion on the following themes:
1. Aquifer Mapping & Management – Implementation strategies, Convergence & Partnership
2. Participatory Approach to Aquifer Mapping & Management
3. Protocol for Activities – Data Compilation, Data Gap Analysis, Data Acquisition & Preparation of Aquifer map
The deliberations in the seminar will help in consolidation of methodology of aquifer mapping and preparing a roadmap for implementation of aquifer management plan at local level with participation of water users at grass root level.