Per Capita Availability of water over the last twenty years in India

The per capita water availability in the country is reducing due to the increase in population. The average annual per capita water availability in the years 2001 and 2011 was assessed as 1816 cubic meters and 1545 cubic meters respectively which may further reduce to 1486 cubic meters, 1367 cubic meters, 1282 cubic meters and 1228 cubic meters in the years 2021, 2031, 2041 and 2051 respectively.

Groundwater level in various parts of the country is declining because of continuous withdrawal due to reasons such as increased demand of fresh water for various uses, industrialization, urbanization, deficient rainfall, etc. Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is periodically monitoring the groundwater levels throughout the Country on a regional scale, through a network of monitoring wells including major cities like Chennai and Bangalore. In order to assess the decline in water level on a longterm basis, pre-monsoon water level data collected by CGWB during pre-monsoon 2019 has been compared with the decadal average (2009-2018). Analysis of water level data indicates about 66% of the wells monitored have registered decline in ground water levels, mostly in the range of 0-2 m. The decline of more than 4 m has also been observed in isolated pockets in parts of following Urban areas in the country viz. Mumbai suburban, Delhi, Hyderabad, Nasik, Pune, Indore, Gwalior, Guwahati, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Faridabad, Vadodara, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, and Meerut.

Plans of Government to tackle the situation

Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has prepared the Master Plan for Artificial Recharge to Ground Water in India, which envisages the construction of 1.11 crore rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge structures in the Country to augment groundwater resources. The Master Plan has been circulated to the State Governments for implementation.

Further, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has issued directives to all States/UTs to take measures to promote artificial recharge of groundwater/rainwater harvesting.

The government of India has launched Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) on 25th June 2015 in select 500 cities across the country for a period of five years i.e. from 2015-16 to 2019-20 with focus on the development of basic civic amenities in the Mission cities. Under the water supply component of the Mission, projects related to rainwater harvesting, rejuvenation of water bodies specifically for drinking water supply, recharging of groundwater, etc., can be taken up by the States/UTs to enhance water supply in the Mission cities.

Central Water Commission monitors live storage status of 120 reservoirs of the country on a weekly basis and issues weekly bulletin every Thursday. The weekly bulletin is shared with the Water Resources Departments of concerned states and also uploaded on the website of the Central Water Commission. Whenever the current storage of reservoirs, being monitored by the Central Water Commission, in a State falls below 80% of Normal (Average Storage of last Ten years), an advisory is issued to the concerned State Government for judicious use of available water. In the year 2019, Central Water Commission has issued advisory to the State Governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Tripura, and Uttarakhand for judicious use of available water.

Poster image by Ritesh Arya –

Author Profile

Mritunjay Sharma
Mritunjay Sharma
Mritunjay Sharma finished his B.Sc (H) from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University in Chemistry. After that he went to England to study Masters in Polymer Material Science and Engineering from University of Manchester and consequently finished his PhD in Nuclear and Materials Chemistry from University of Manchester

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