It is in news due to Atal Bhu Jal scheme. In order to comply with various directions of the Hon’ble NGT and to address various shortcomings in the existing guidelines of ground water extraction, the Central Ground Water Authority, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on 12th December 2018 notified revised guidelines for ground water extraction vide notification which will be effective from 1st June 2019. The revised guidelines aim to ensure a more robust groundwater regulatory mechanism in the country.
What does the guideline prescribe?
As per the guidelines, users extracting groundwater are required to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from CGWA.
What are the other provisions of the Guidelines?
What are the exemptions under the guidelines?
Certain users are exempted from this requirement, including: (i) agricultural users, (ii) users proposing to draw ground water through non-energised means, (iii) individual households proposing to draw ground water from a single well, through delivery pipe of up to one-inch diameter, (iv) armed forces during operational deployment or mobilisation, and (v) government water supply agencies in safe and semi-critical areas.
In what circumstances can the NOCs be given?
The guidelines specify different categories of ground water users and prescribe norms for each user group for extraction. For instance, users extracting ground water for drinking and domestic usage will be given NOCs only in cases where the concerned water supply department or agency is unable to supply adequate amount of water in the area. NOCs given to users will become void in case of change in land use (of the property) or water use. NOCs are valid for a specific time period based on the category of user; and can be renewed thereafter.
What is the charge prescribed for obtaining NOCs?
A processing fee of Rs 10,000 is applicable for new NOCs and Rs 5,000 for renewal of existing NOCs.
What is the Water Conservation Fee (WCF)?
One of the important features of the revised guidelines is the introduction of the concept of Water Conservation Fee (WCF), the fee charged on extraction of ground water.
The WCF payable varies with the category of the area, type of industry and the quantum of ground water extraction.
What is the implication of WCF?
The high rates of WCF are expected to discourage setting up of new industries in over-exploited and critical areas as well as may limit large scale ground water extraction by industries, especially in over-exploited and critical areas.
Why the need for such guidelines?
India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, and accounts for about 25% of the global water extraction.
In India, extracted groundwater is mainly used for irrigation and accounts for about 228 BCM (billion cubic meters) — or about 90% of the annual groundwater extraction. The rest, 25 BCM, is drawn for drinking, domestic and industrial uses.