Seeking to make groundwater availability more transparent, government today approved an ambitious plan for aquifer mapping in 28 states and Union Territories, including Delhi. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for continuing the scheme of ground water management and regulation with new components of aquifer mapping and participatory ground water management by the Ministry of Water Resources. The scheme involves an expenditure of Rs. 3,319 crore during the XII Plan period, an official statement said here. The scheme will be implemented in parts of 28 states and 7 Union Territories, including Delhi, covering 8.89 lakh sq km during the XII Plan period.
The remaining mapable area of 14.36 lakh sq km will be taken up in the XIII Plan period. Aquifer management plans will be formulated, quantifying water availability and water quality in various aquifers for facilitating sustainable management of ground water resources through the participatory management approach. Capacity-building of functionaries of Panchayati Raj institutions, local community, grass root workers and Kisan Vikas Kendras will be undertaken to train them in basic data collection and its interpretation. Aquifer mapping will help the common man know the quantity and status of groundwater in a particular area using a simple internet connection. The total utilisable water potential of the country, as assessed by the Central Water Commission and Central Ground Water Board, is 1,121 Billion Cubic Meters (BCM), of which ground water constitutes 431 BCM (38 per cent of the potential), with balance 690 BCM (62 per cent) being surface water. About 61 percent of irrigation water, 85 percent of rural and 45 percent of urban drinking water supply is from ground water resources.