Environment & Biodiversity

Lowest Groundwater Extraction in 18 years

In India, groundwater extraction has decreased over 18 years, according to a Central Ground Water Board review (CGWB).

Declining trend of Groundwater Extraction

  • In 2022, the nation’s total annual groundwater recharge will be 437.6 billion cubic metres (bcm).
  • However, the 2022 CGWB report states that the total country’s extraction is just 239,16 bcm.
  • The annual groundwater recharge was 436 bcm while the annual groundwater extraction was 245 bcm, according to a 2020 assessment.
  • According to the 2022 assessment, groundwater extraction is at its lowest level since 2004, when it reached 231 bcm.

Effects of the CGWB report

  • The assessment’s in-depth study reveals an increase in ground water recharge.
  • This is primarily due to:
    1. An increase in canal seepage recharge,
    2. Recharge from water bodies, tanks, and water conservation structures, as well as irrigation water return flow.

Impact of Groundwater Depletion

  • Water table lowering: Groundwater depletion may cause the water table to drop, making it more challenging to remove groundwater for use.
  • Reduction of water in streams and lakes: Groundwater seepage into streambeds is a major source of the water that flows through rivers. Water flow in these streams may be reduced by groundwater depletion.
  • Land subsidence: The soil is frequently supported by groundwater. When the water is removed, this equilibrium is disrupted, causing the soil to contract, descend, and collapse, resulting in land subsidence.
  • Extraction of water is more expensive since it must be done at greater depths due to the declining groundwater levels that are lowering the water table. This will make getting water more expensive.

Regulation of Groundwater in India

  • Authority for Central Ground Water (CGWA): Its task is to oversee the nation’s ground water management and development. It was established in accordance with the 1986 Environment (Protection) Act. For ground water withdrawal, CGWA publishes advisories, public notifications, and grants No Objection Certificates (NOC).
  • Program for the National Aquifer Mapping and Management (NAQUIM): The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched an effort called NAQUIM to map and manage the nation’s extensive aquifer systems. It updates India’s hydrological map.
  • Atal Bhujal Yojana: It is a Central Sector Scheme for the community-based sustainable management of groundwater resources in water-stressed blocks.


  • Regular survey: It is important to regularly assess groundwater levels in order to have sufficient information for developing new strategies and policies.
  • Assessment of land use: Research should be done to determine how much agricultural land is used and how much of it is occupied by overtly exploited units.
  • Modifications to farming practices: On-farm water management strategies and improved irrigation techniques should be employed in order to improve the water table in places where it is being overused.
  • Changes to power supply subsidies are required because the flat rate of electricity negatively impacts how much groundwater is used in agriculture.
  • Monitoring extraction: In order to ensure long-term sustainability, a policy should be in place to keep an eye on the overuse of groundwater resources.
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