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    Restoring groundwater in urban India: Learning from Bengaluru

    With the national water demand anticipated to doubly exceed supply—ensuring judicious use of groundwater is a critical point of addressal.

    Restoring groundwater in urban India: Learning from Bengaluru

    BERJIS DRIVER

    What steps are Indian cities taking in order to bring about the sustainable management of groundwater?

    Atul Loke/Getty BENGALURU

    CENTRAL GROUND WATER BOARD

    GROUNDWATER

    MODEL GROUND WATER BILL 2016

    NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL

    With water scarcity accelerating due to climate change, OECD forecasts that over 3.9 billion people globally will be living in areas of severe water stress by 2030. The ongoing pandemic has brought to light several inadequacies associated with natural resource management, specifically water and the sustainable use of which remains paramount in meeting various targets associated with the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

    Since the past seven decades, the country has witnessed a staggering 72% decline in water availability per capita. A closer inspection suggests that the total annual water withdrawal per capita (1975-2010) increased by 18,500 liters, a quantity which visually equates to two, large tankers of water. Apart from being the predominant source of drinking water and irrigation for rural India, over 80% of the urban domestic water supply is met solely through groundwater. As 39% of the total national population is projected to reside in cities by the year 2030 and with the national water demand anticipated to doubly exceed supply, ensuring the judicious use of groundwater is an unignorable point of addressal amidst varying lines of discourses related to urban livability, climate resilience, health, governance, sectoral reforms and water security.

    This leaves a daunting question to be answered: What steps are Indian cities taking in order to bring about the sustainable management of groundwater? Some of the answers could come from the city of Bengaluru in the state of Karnataka.

    With the national water demand anticipated to doubly exceed supply, ensuring the judicious use of groundwater is an unignorable point of addressal.

    Whilst the state of water affairs in the city is often taken at face value through prominent impressions of the poor conditions of lakes like Bellandur and Varthur, it is not in the least suggestive of deficiencies in pan-city efforts for the improvement of water management strategies at large. Spread over a magnanimous 1,200 sq. km. area, the city which has witnessed a decennial population growth rate of 47.25% (2001-2011) receives an annual rainfall of 970 millimeters, which through the process of natural percolation is vital for ensuring the replenishment of ground water tables. At the state level, The National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources in India, 2017 noted a third of the total groundwater assessment units to be in a critical and over-exploited state, with the stage of extraction at 70% whilst that for Bengaluru Urban was 143.81%. This implied that the annual groundwater extraction in the city was far greater than the annual extractable groundwater resources available. Therein, the requirement for addressing this gap prevails and is sought after through formulating strategies coherent with institutional reforms. Given the degree of locational flexibility for extraction, the key stakeholders responsible for ensuring optimal groundwater practices are in fact: citizens, communities and societal groups.

    Popular models for improving the qualitative standards of surface water sources in the city, like that of Jakkur lake for example, indicate the potential of not only technological integration (a Sewage Treatment Plant and constructed wetland that ensures waste water treatment) for the purpose of rejuvenation, but also institutional integration (Jalaposhan Trust Citizen Collective, Satya Foundation NGO, IISC, Bangalore Development Authority and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike). Where the potential for various synergies is high with respect to surface source management, it is also equally similar for ground water, particularly in urban areas where municipal supply is not available. A well-known example which best reflects this understanding is that of the Rainbow Drive Layout located on Sarjapur road. Where borewells failed to strike water at great depths underground, a technological integration for ensuring ground water recharge was made possible through collective citizen investments. The initiation of rainwater harvesting measures (back in 2007), the creation of a high density of recharge wells and employment of a low maintenance, low energy, treatment facility which made wastewater reuse viable, were observed as major assets.

    Where the potential for various synergies is high with respect to surface source management, it is also equally similar for ground water, particularly in urban areas where municipal supply is not available.

    The levy of a penalty price in addition to the nominal price for monthly use up to 25 kiloliters ensured differences in consumption levels. What eventually ensued, was an increase in the groundwater table level resulting in the daily availability of 1.30 lakh liters for the use of the layout residents by means of two borewells; ultimately eliminating the reliance on tanker water. Indeed, the Rainbow Drive Layout initiatives are testament to the value of incorporating the umbrella concept of ‘Integrated Water Resources Management’ (IWRM) and helping envision the possibility of water positive societies.

    स्रोत : www.orfonline.org

    Sustainability of groundwater through community

    Study Region: Semi-Arid Regions of Marathawada, Vidarbha and Saurashtra in IndiaStudy Focus: To understand and evaluate the impact of Managed Aquifer …

    Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies

    Volume 29, June 2020, 100680

    Sustainability of groundwater through community-driven distributed recharge: An analysis of arguments for water scarce regions of semi-arid India

    Author links open overlay panel

    Praharsh M.PatelaTushaarShahcd

    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrh.2020.100680

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    Under a Creative Commons license

    Open access

    Highlights

    MAR is a key to rejuvenate groundwater resources in the semi-arid regions of India.

    Time-domain analyses of water levels and rainfall in three semi-arid regions were done.

    The model incorporates quantum of rainfall vis-a-vis quantum of GW recharge.

    Saurashtra region exhibits better groundwater recharge than other semi-arid regions.

    The impact of multifaceted policy interventions and community support are highlighted.

    Abstract

    Study Region: Semi-Arid Regions of Marathawada, Vidarbha and Saurashtra in IndiaStudy Focus: To understand and evaluate the impact of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) efforts.New Hydrological Insights for the Region: Since 1990, the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, India witnessed a massive community-based distributed groundwater recharge movement, initially catalyzed by NGOs and later supported by the government. The region has witnessed visible improvement in groundwater resources during recent years, which was attributed by some researchers to the recharge movement. A competing hypothesis holds that improvement in groundwater levels in Saurashtra are a result more due to a succession of good rainfall years during 2001–2014, aided by transfer of surface water from a big dam on Narmada River, rather than the distributed recharge movement. We develop and implement a 2-way test of these competing hypotheses: First, we compare groundwater recharge patterns in Saurashtra during a recent period of high rainfall years with a similar period before the onset of the recharge movement; second, for both these high rainfall periods, we also compare groundwater recharge patterns in two other comparable aquifer and terrain regions, viz., Vidarbha and Marathawada in Maharastra, which did not experience recharge movement on the same scale as Saurashtra did. Our results support the hypothesis that the community supported distributed recharge movement is the key to improved groundwater recharge in Saurashtra during 2004-09.Previous articleNext article

    Keywords

    GroundwaterManaged aquifer rechargeImpact evaluationGroundwater rechargeSemi-arid IndiaPolicy interventionsImpact of managed aquifer rechargeSaurashtra, India

    1. Background

    India as of now is the largest groundwater extractor in the world (Shah, 2014). Particularly, post 1970s, use of groundwater both as a source of irrigation and for domestic purposes has increased rapidly. Irrigation consumes about 90 % of groundwater extracted annually and the wells used for this sector have increased from less than 1 million in 1960 to almost 24 million in 2014 (Saha and Roy, 2018). Currently, about 85 percent of rural water supplies and 50 percent of urban water need is extracted from aquifers (Shankar et al., 2011). Easy access, year-round availability even in drought spells, ability to operate at will and lack of any regulations coupled with easy provision of free/subsidised farm power have been major factors responsible for indiscriminate extraction of groundwater. With rise in population leading to increasing water requirements, competitive extraction among multiple stakeholders poses a threat of serious depletion in many parts of the country. Besides, there are large areas facing acute quality problems both from anthropogenic and geogenic sources (Banerjee et al., 2012).

    Having diverse terrain, geology and climate within India, the groundwater condition also varies significantly from region to region. The vulnerability of groundwater resource depletion is more acute in arid (deserts of Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch) and semi-arid (Marathawada, Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Western Andhra Pradesh, north interior Karnataka, etc.) areas covering the western, central and southern peninsular parts of India (Saha et al., 2017). As per the climatic classifications of Stamp (1967) and Köppen (1936) (based on temperature, rainfall and local vegetation), the majority of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and north Karnataka states lie in similar climate zones, characterised by moderate rainfall (annual rainfall 500 −1000 mm) with high variability (coefficient of variation more than 20 percent) and dry spell in winter and in hot summer. Out of all these regions, three have been frequently hitting the headlines due to acute water shortage and drought-like conditions: Saurashtra in Gujarat and Marathawada and Vidarbha in Maharashtra. The area is marked by a thin veneer of black cotton soil, followed by 8−20 m thick weathered zone, further underlain by consolidated basaltic rocks (Saha et al., 2017; Fig. 1). The weathered zone holds groundwater in primary porosity and sustains dug wells, whereas the fractured and vesicular zones in successive basalt flows below hold groundwater that is yielded to bore wells. The nature of aquifers, their hydraulic characteristics, recharge mechanism and storage capacities are similar in all the three regions (Saha and Agrawal, 2006).

    स्रोत : www.sciencedirect.com

    World Water Day 2022: How India is addressing its water needs

    World Water Day 2022: How India is addressing its water needs

    BRIEF MARCH 14, 2022

    World Water Day 2022: How India is addressing its water needs

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    The Atal Bhujal Yojana, India’s largest community-led groundwater management program, is helping improve rural livelihoods and build resilience in 7 Indian states which have the highest rates of groundwater depletion.

    World Bank Group

    Come summer, and water becomes a commodity as precious as gold in India. The country has 18 percent of the world’s population, but only 4 percent of its water resources, making it among the most water-stressed in the world. A large number of Indians face high to extreme water stress, according to a recent report by the government’s policy think tank, the NITI Aayog. India’s dependence on an increasingly erratic monsoon for its water requirements increases this challenge. Climate change is likely to exacerbate this pressure on water resources, even as the frequency and intensity on floods and droughts in the country increases.

    The World Bank is engaged in different aspects of water resource management and the supply of drinking water and sanitation services across the country. Here are some of the ways how.

    Stemming groundwater depletion

    Groundwater is one of the most important sources for irrigation as well as for rural and urban domestic water supply. However, overexploitation of this valuable resource has led to its depletion.

    The World Bank is helping the supporting the government’s national groundwater program, the Atal Bhujal Yojanato help improve groundwater management. Implemented in 9000 gram panchayats across seven Indian states, this is the world’s largest community-led groundwater management program. Since groundwater conservation lies in the hands of hundreds of millions of individuals and communities, the program is helping villagers understand their water availability and usage patterns so they can budget their water use accordingly.

    In the agrarian state of Punjab, where rampant tubewell irrigation is causing the water table to fall drastically, the Bank helped the state government pilot an innovative scheme to conserve groundwater. The “Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao” (Save Water, Earn Money) scheme incentivizes farmers to reduce groundwater usage. Around 300 enrolled farmers were given cash incentives to save electricity used for irrigation, resulting in water savings of between 6 and 25 percent without any adverse effect on the yield.

    MULTIMEDIA

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    Incentivizing farmers in Punjab to save electricity and water

    In the agrarian state of Punjab in India, where rampant tubewell irrigation is causing the groundwater table to fall drastically, the World Bank helped the state government pilot an innovative scheme to conserve groundwater.

    Reaching the underserved in India’s villages

    Over the last decade, the World Bank has supported the government’s efforts to bring clean drinking water to rural communities. A range of projects with a total financing of $1.2 billion have benefitted over 20 million people.

    Villages in the mountain state of Uttarakhand, suffered from a lack of water supply as the steep Himalayan terrain made it difficult to build and maintain the required infrastructure. For many villagers, particularly women, obtaining fresh water for domestic use meant traveling distances of over 1.6 kilometers.

    Between 2006-15 the World Bank-financed Uttarakhand Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project helped over 1.57 million people in the state by improving sustainable rural water supply and sanitation services across underserved areas. The project focussed on building infrastructure and institutional capacity, including that of the village communities, that would be resilient from natural disasters in the mountain state that often experiences flash-floods, earthquakes and landslides.

    The southern state of Kerala receives one of the highest levels of rainfall in the country, however, its undulating terrain drains most of the rainwater into the sea. Rapid growth of built-up areas across the state has led to depleting water sources.

    Since the early 2000s, the World Bank has been supporting the state government in ensuring that rural families receive a dependable supply of piped water in their homes, at a price that even low-income households can afford. Jalanidhi I (2000-2008) and Jalanidhi II (2012-2017) have helped bring water into village homes by putting local communities in charge of managing their own water supply schemes for the first time in their lives.

    Reliable water supply to cities

    Continuous piped water supply has been a pipe dream for fast-urbanizing Indian cities. Most urban households receive water for a couple of hours a day at most, and often only on a few days a week. This particularly affects the poor, women and children, who spend time and money securing water for their daily needs.

    The southern state of Karnataka has now proved that 24/7 water supply is indeed possible, affordable, and sustainable in urban areas. The World Bank-supported Karnataka Water Supply Improvement Project helped pilot this approach in the three-water stressed cities of Hubbali-Dharwad, Belagavi and Kalaburgi; a follow-on project, the Karnataka Urban Water Supply Modernization Project, is now scaling up to cover the entire population of the three cities.

    स्रोत : www.worldbank.org

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